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'In an ideal world we'll get Rice back' claims Coleman


Seamus Coleman

Seamus Coleman

Seamus Coleman

Seamus Coleman says he has spoken to West Ham man Declan Rice about his international future and the Ireland captain is hopeful that Rice will decide to stick with Ireland despite an offer to go and play for his native England.

Tonight's Nations League game in Cardiff is a very big deal for Coleman: not only is it the start of a fresh campaign in a new competition, it's also his first time to play in a competitive international since he suffered a broken leg against Wales 18 months ago.

The Everton captain has flatly dismissed any talk about this being a grudge game, that's not his style. But Coleman has also take the time to make an important intervention into the debate about Rice.

Coleman's message to the ex-internationals, now working as pundits, and the general public who have been critical of Rice's request for time to consider his options at international level, is to back off and give him time, and there seems to be optimism that Rice will remain in green.

"In an ideal world, we'd have all players here playing for us. On Declan's situation, I spoke (to him) last week," Coleman said.

"Some people back home might not like to hear it, he's a 19-year-old boy who was born in England.

"That's no reason why he can't be a proud Irishman. After the Turkey game getting man of the match, I saw him embrace his father in the tunnel and that's not for show, that's genuine.

"He was genuinely proud to play in the games that he did and in an ideal world we'd get him back. It's not as straightforward as you know what you are.

"The young lad was born in England, there's no reason why he can't feel in some part English and also be very proud to play for Ireland, which I know he is. So on that situation, fingers crossed, we'll welcome Declan back with open arms, whatever he decides."

Coleman has avoided a potential meeting on the field with Neil Taylor, the Wales player to broke his leg in Dublin last year, as Taylor's not in the squad but Coleman is not making this game personal, having already seen his Ireland side win in Cardiff, last year when he was sidelined.

"I'm looking forward to the game. That's 18 months ago now, it's something.. it's not that I've forgotten about but it's in the past. That night in Dublin is something I am not really thinking about. "Pulling in to the stadium last night was a great feeling, the last time I was here I was a supporter to see the lads get that 1-0 victory. It was a great result but a different competition, different players in both squads, and we are looking forward to getting another good result here. It's a bit like a Premier League game because you do know the players, we are all proud to play for our countries."