Gareth Southgate says there’s ‘a lot of pressure’ on Declan Rice

West Ham defender declined a call-up for upcoming Nations League match with Wales

Ireland’s Declan Rice celebrates Graham Burke’s goal during the recent friendly win over thr USA. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Ireland’s Declan Rice celebrates Graham Burke’s goal during the recent friendly win over thr USA. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

 

England manager Gareth Southgate has said that there is a lot of pressure on Declan Rice as the West Ham defender weighs up which country he wants to represent.

The 19-year-old has played three friendlies for Ireland, as well as playing a number of underage internationls, but last week declined a call-up for the upcoming Nations League match against Wales, saying he now needs time to think about where his allegiances lie.

Rice is still eligible to switch to Southgate’s England due to the fact that he has not played a competitive game for Ireland. If he has represented Martin O’Neill’s side against Wales then he would have closed off that avenue.

“There are so many dual nationality players,” said Southgate at his squad announcement ahead of England’s Nations League clash with Spain on September 8th and the friendly with Switzerland three days later.

“He is a good young player. He has a really difficult decision as there is a lot of pressure on him. As far as I’m concerned he is with Ireland at the moment. That decision has to lie with him.”

Previously the English-born Rice, whose grandparents are from Ireland, had spoken of his pride in playing for Ireland and said that he had tears in his eyes at the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann.

However, a number of factors, including a change of agent over the summer, has caused a rethink.

More to follow...

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