| 16.1°C Dublin

'I think he scored and I think he kissed the jersey' - Mick McCarthy on Declan Rice's switch to England

Close

Mick McCarthy says Declan Rice's decision to switch to England went down like a "led balloon"

Mick McCarthy says Declan Rice's decision to switch to England went down like a "led balloon"

Mick McCarthy says Declan Rice's decision to switch to England went down like a "led balloon"

Former Ireland manager Mick McCarthy says Declan Rice's decision to switch from the green of Ireland to England went down "like a led balloon".

West Ham midfielder Rice played three senior international friendlies for Ireland under Martin O'Neill, making his debut in the 1-0 defeat against Turkey in 2018 but after a long-running saga, the 21-year-old pledged his future to England in February 2019.

For all the latest sports news, analysis and updates direct to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter.

England-born Rice, who qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents, had previously strongly hinted that he was happy to represent Ireland in the future.

When Mick McCarthy took over for his second stint in charge of Ireland in November 2018, one of his first tasks was to try and cement Rice's commitment to the green jersey but admits he knew straight away Rice was swaying towards England.

"How it went down? Well, it went down like a lead balloon! He played three games, I think he scored [in the U21s] and I think he kissed the jersey," McCarthy told Sky Sports.

"But players have a choice now. There's another discussion, if you've played once in a friendly game at full international level, should that be you down as an Irish player, an English player, a Scottish player, or whatever it may be? I think it should, once you've played in the national team.

"But if you've got a choice, which he had, and he played in the West Ham team and started flying.

"I went to see him and his dad, and I have to be honest, I didn't say this publicly at the time, but I didn't think he would come with us, I think he was erring on the side of playing with England.

"I was pretty curt with him at the time, and I had to call him back and say: 'Listen, I'm sorry, I wish you well, I hope you have a good career with England and with West Ham,' because it's his choice.

The Halfway Line Newsletter

Get the lowdown on the Irish football scene with our soccer correspondent Daniel McDonnell and expert team of writers with our free weekly newsletter.

This field is required

"He never played for me, it's just I was so disappointed that we were losing such a good player!"


Most Watched





Privacy