Declan Rice has his own say on Ireland England decision 3 days ago

Declan Rice has his own say on Ireland England decision

Everyone else has been doing the talking for Declan Rice.

If it's not Martin O'Neill it's Gareth Southgate and if it's not Gareth Southgate it's Manuel Pellegrini. For a lad of only 19 years, Declan Rice has been pulled in all directions by so many different people over the last few months.

To Rice's credit, he hasn't allowed himself be rushed into a decision he may regret in the future. He knows how important and how many implications his decision between England and Ireland will have for him down the line so he's decided to take his time over it.

For the first time since the saga took off a number of months ago now, Rice has actually had his own say on the matter.

Speaking to Gary Jacob in an interview with The Times this morning, the West Ham defender admitted that the decision between his home country and the country he's played up through the ranks underage with will be the 'hardest' of his career. He added that he's spoken to O'Neill and Southgate, both of whom understand the difficult nature of the decision he's facing.

“I have said to Martin and Gareth I just need some time," he said to the Times.

“I need to make the right decision, what it best for me and for my family. Being 19, I never thought I would be in a position to make such a hard decision.”

Declan Rice

"Without a doubt it is not an easy decision. It is one of the hardest I will have to make in my career. Martin was excellent when he came to my house and Gareth was excellent and they both understand the position I am in. I said I just need some time."

Though Rice says O'Neill has been excellent in the whole thing, a number with their finger on the pulse of Irish football haven't been as complimentary of the Derry man.

His decision not to place faith in Rice in the competitive game against Moldova towards the end of the last qualification campaign, despite the fact that the youngster had five Premier League caps to his name by then, has earned him plenty of criticism.

Dion Fanning for one, feels that O'Neill places too much emphasis on other Premier League manager's opinions on players, rather than backing his own judgement or what's there in front of him.

"International football is not a higher level," he said on The Football Spin.

"The idea that you must reach the Premier League and then you can go on - then you're equipped for international football - is wrong.

"Ireland international managers need to be seeing these players who can actually develop as international footballers at a different stage, rather than saying, 'let me see if they can do it at an England club. Let me trust in the English club system to develop these players for me and, if they do that, then that will be good enough for me and that will be the endorsement.'

"It's so limiting because you're reducing the players to players who are picked out by a random bunch of English managers whose judgement is as flawed as anybody else's."