Gary Lineker couldn't resist a few Declan Rice remarks after his West Ham heroics 4 months ago

Gary Lineker couldn't resist a few Declan Rice remarks after his West Ham heroics

Luckily, only one gag made it to air.

Gary Lineker joked about surely being Irish-qualified, back in the 1980s, as his father was an avid fisher over here for 50 years. 'In Big Jack (Charlton's) time that would've qualified me,' he zinged.

Given that Ireland gave Tony Cascarino, a man with no Irish parents or grandparents, 88 caps over 14 years, we have to take that one on the chin. On Saturday, though, Lineker was doing some fishing with the Irish of his own.

Not long after West Ham's Declan Rice slotted his side into the lead against Arsenal, the former England captain plunged onto his Twitter account:

That drew in over 400 responses and many of them were from Irish football fans that took the bait. Rice, of course, is English born of Irish parentage and he has three international caps for Ireland. None of those games were in competitive fixtures so the young Hammers star is still entitled to switch back to England if he so chooses.

Both Gareth Southgate and Mick McCarthy are doing their utmost to convince the teenager that his future lies, respectively, in white or green.

Lineker was happy to stoke the embers of a long-running tug-of-war for the services of Rice and, after telling one follower that he was being ironic, made the 'Big Jack' remark.

Later, on BBC's Match of the Day, Rice came in for oodles of praise from pundits Ian Wright and Jermaine Jenas. Before they could get too effusive, Lineker made another gag:

"So, he'll play a lot of games for England, won't he?!"

As Lineker sat back, pleased with his question, Wright diplomatically answered, "Well I'm just glad to see a young English player get an opportunity, in the Premier League."

Rice has been in contact with both McCarthy and Southgate and says he will make a decision on his international future "soon".

Whatever way it goes, the jokes won't go away soon.