Sunday 18 November 2018

Declan Rice to captain Ireland in the future - Shane Duffy

Ireland's Declan Rice. Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland's Declan Rice. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Shane Duffy has backed Declan Rice to become a future Ireland captain.

Amid all the mediocrity during Ireland's disappointing 2-0 defeat by France in Paris, the 19-year-old showed glimpses of his undoubted potential.

Rice started the game sitting in front of the back four, before finishing it alongside Duffy at the heart of defence, and the Derry native was suitably impressed.

"He is so comfortable in all the positions he plays in," Duffy said. "But you don't want him to be one of those who can play anywhere - you want him to settle down into a position.

"I think he is going to go right to the top. He will captain Ireland some day.

Develop

"Declan can be here for many years so we have to be careful with him and let him develop - as his club are doing with him, but it's a joy to see him coming in so early and it's good for everyone.

"He is a big voice in there too. He's not shy. He's a good lad with a good head on his shoulders."

Ireland will be desperate to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat when they play the USA on Saturday.

It's been a poor run of form from Martin O'Neill's side, who, since being thumped 5-1 by Denmark, have lost back-to-back friendlies against Turkey and France.

Results aside, the performances have also been very disappointing.

O'Neill may be looking to build a new team, but based on the evidence that we have seen so far, it will be a long and difficult process.

The highs of the Euros two years ago are now very much a distant memory as Ireland face another summer of watching the World Cup from afar.

A massive improvement will be expected against the US, but Duffy warned that it won't be easy.

"They are no mugs and it will be another tough game," the Brighton defender insisted.

"Thee defeats in-a-row - we don't want to make that four. We haven't played in Dublin since Denmark and we want to give the fans something to shout about."

Ireland were played off the park by a classy French side on Monday evening, yet O'Neill will have been furious by the manner in which they conceded the two goals.

The first came from a corner that Ireland failed to deal with, while the second was off the back of a howler from goalkeeper Colin Doyle.

"If you are going to get beaten by France, you want them to carve you open and be too good for you, but we gave them the two goals which was disappointing," Duffy admitted.

"We had a good shape about us and we defended well. You look at their forward line and they are all world-class players, but the lads dug deep.

"It was a good game to play in. You have to be realistic about who we were playing. They could easily win the World Cup."

Irish Independent

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