James McClean has his say on Declan Rice situation
McClean has had his say.
Declan Rice has not been included in the Republic of Ireland squad for the Uefa Nations League game against Wales next month. Ireland will play Wales in Cardiff on September 6, in their first match in the new Nations League tournament, before travelling to Wroclaw to play Poland in a friendly on September 11.
But Rice won't be part of the travelling panel after Martin O'Neill revealed that the youngster wants more time to decide on where his international future lies.
O'Neill has said that Declan Rice just wants a "little bit more time" to decide on his international future https://t.co/tFnK56q4L6
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) August 27, 2018
The 19-year-old has three caps for the country and was comfortably Ireland's best player in each fixture.
However, O'Neill has said that the West Ham defender wants more time to decide on his international future. Rice is from London, but qualifies for Ireland through an Irish grandparent and has played for the country at underage level.
After impressing for Ireland, and for the Hammers last season, the youngster has been sounded out by England about switching international allegiance.
If Rice were to play in the Nations League game against Wales, he wouldn't be able to switch to England as the tie counts as a competitive international. It appears he is taking more time to decide where his future lies.
Martin O'Neill: He (Declan Rice) is still deliberating. He is a young man. England have spoken to him. He is taking time to make his mind up. He has done brilliantly for us. I'm giving him a little bit of time. #COYBIG pic.twitter.com/jFvCzHmgY0
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) August 27, 2018
"He is still deliberating," O'Neill told reporters at the Aviva Stadium on Monday afternoon.
"He is a young man. Obviously, England, the place of his birth, have talked to him. We respect that. I think he just wants a little bit more time. It's probably to do with the fact that he started the season with a new manager at club level, and he's trying to cement a place there. I'm still hopeful. He is taking time to make his mind up. He has done brilliantly for us. I'm giving him a little bit of time."
The news has had a mixed response. Some Ireland fans accept that the 19-year-old may need more time to decide, and such a decision isn't an easy one.
However, others, such as former Ireland international Kevin Kilbane, can't understand why Rice is reluctant to commit his future to the Ireland team.
The former winger said he would rather Ireland "were ranked 150th in the world and never qualify again" than have a player is unsure about their international allegiance.
I’d rather be ranked 150th in the world and never qualify again than have someone who has played, but needs time to THINK whether they should play for us again. Well done to MON for transparency. https://t.co/6oXlwXEpaP
— Kevin Kilbane (@kdkilbane77) August 27, 2018
Current Ireland international James McClean agrees with Kilbane, and tweeted his response to the Rice situation on Monday night.