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King: We will lose more stars like Declan


Manager Noel King. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Manager Noel King. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Manager Noel King. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Irish football will have to get used to the prospect of losing more talented players like Declan Rice to other nations, Ireland U-21 coach Noel King has warned.

Rice was due to make his senior competitive debut in Thursday's clash with Wales in the Nations League, the West Ham player already capped in competitive games at underage level.

In fact, Rice has played in five of the six games played by the Irish U-21s in the current European Championship qualifying campaign, Ireland capable of going joint top of the group table if they can win away to Kosovo on Friday.

Rice clearly won't be involved as he's on a break from the international scene as he ponders a future with England, but U-21 team boss King says he's braced for more defections like that of Rice.

"I think the world of international football is now more competitive as everyone seeks out players," King said before the U-21 team's departure to Kosovo today.

"The laws of FIFA are quite clear, we've benefited in cases and we've lost out in cases. I think that will continue and it's something we have to get used to. It is disappointing.

"But when we benefit from it, we're all delighted and we never think of the other country that the player may have left.

"You're going to see more and more of it, you can't prevent anything. You can just try and do your business as best as you can. You know that there is going to be more of this everywhere, whether it's Turkey, Germany, Kosovo," King added.

"As a manager, you obey the laws and work within them and try to work them to your advantage. On occasions it has benefited us and on others it hasn't.

"The player makes the decision, it is an individual choice and it must be respected. I would certainly respect the decision either way."