Michael Keane offers Declan Rice some advice on international future
Everton defender Michael Keane has said that wayward Ireland international Declan Rice should consult his family before making a decision on his international future.
Rice has played three times for Ireland in non-competitive matches but has withdrawn from the last two Ireland camps as he takes some time out to deliberate on his international future.
Keane, who played for both the Ireland U17 and U19 sides as a youth, switched to England in 2012 but has played just four times since for his country of birth.
The Toffees centre-back has no regrets about his decision to change and encouraged Rice to follow his instincts.
“I would say just go with your gut,” said Keane via The Independent. “At the end of the day international football is great to play but I think you get more pride out of playing for the country you really want to play for.
“This isn't to say I didn't want to play for Ireland, but my heart is more in England. All my family are in England, my dad moved over when he was nine years old so we don't have much Irish family. So I always wanted to play for England, so I would say just speak to your family. It is not just about getting the experience at a young age, you have to enjoy representing the country you play for.”
Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill is still hopeful that Rice will commit his international future to Ireland and that the decision ultimately lies with the 19-year-old.
"There's no change, I've been talking to his dad and there's going to be a decision from him and his family at the end of the year," O'Neill said earlier this month.
"I'm always hopeful, there are a lot of stories coming out I don't think there's been any change.
"It's up to the player, he has a lot of things to consider and a lot of things might favour England, but I'm hopeful."