Seamus Coleman was asked about the Declan Rice situation at Wednesday’s press conference ahead of the Republic of Ireland’s UEFA Nations League clash with Wales on Thursday evening.
Coleman was adamant that the Republic of Ireland squad would welcome back Rice with open arms and that there is no reason why the West Ham midfielder cannot feel partly English while still representing the boys in green with pride.
“In an ideal world, we’d have all the players here playing for us,” Coleman told RTÉ Sport at yesterday’s press conference.
“Some people back home might not like to hear it. He’s a 19-year-old boy that was born in England but that’s no reason he can’t be a proud Irishman.
“I saw him after the Turkey game when he got Man of the Match and I saw him embrace his father in the tunnel. That’s not for show, that’s genuine. He was genuinely proud to play in the games that he did.”
It’s a difficult situation clearly, and nothing is ever black and white, especially a situation like this which Coleman agrees with.
“In an ideal world, we’ll get him back. But it’s not straightforward as ‘you know what you are’, which I’ve heard a few people say.
“The young lad was born in England. There’s no reason why he can’t feel some part English and also be very proud to play for Ireland, which I know he is.
“So, on that situation, and fingers crossed, we’ll welcome back Declan with open arms whatever he decides.”
It was reported on Wednesday that Rice is expected to make a statement on his future next week after the friendly with Poland and it is understood that he will pledge his allegiance to the Republic of Ireland.