Thursday 14 November 2019

Declan Rice to continue international exile for Nations League showdown against Wales and Denmark

Declan Rice of West Ham United competes for the ball with Marouane Fellaini
Declan Rice of West Ham United competes for the ball with Marouane Fellaini
Declan Rice. Photo: Ian Walton/PA Wire

John Fallon

Declan Rice is set to continue his international exile, but both of Ireland's opponents in next month's Nations League games could also be missing key men.

As Rice's stock in his home land of England continues to rocket following another standout performance for West Ham in Saturday's win over Manchester United, the 19-year-old will sit tight on his international future.

Ireland manager Martin O'Neill had hoped to include his rising star in the squad he announces on Thursday for the double-header against Denmark and Wales, but the player is still not ready to pledge his international future amid increased interest from England.

Rice dropped a bombshell when opting out of the opening Nations League game against Wales earlier this month, despite already earning three senior caps in friendlies.

O'Neill, who was left waiting by Jack Grealish for a year before the Aston Villa man switched to England, insists the start of the next Euro qualifiers in March is the cut-off for Rice to solve his dilemma.

Jon Walters has been ruled out, but fellow strikers Sean Maguire and Scott Hogan should be available after recovering from injuries.

Meanwhile, Ireland could be facing a Welsh side on October 16 without their talisman, after Gareth Bale sustained an abductor injury which forced him to be taken off at half-time of Real Madrid's stalemate against Atletico Madrid.

He will miss tomorrow's Champions League fixture away to CSKA Moscow.

Also uncertain to be figure at Lansdowne Road three days earlier is Denmark's Christen Eriksen. The hat-trick hero of November's World Cup play-off triumph was ruled out of Tottenham's trip to Huddersfield with an abdomen problem.

Irish Independent

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