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'It's pretty straightforward. He is Irish' - Roy Keane rubbishes West Ham owner's comments on Declan Rice's future

23 March 2018; Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane, right, and manager Martin O'Neill prior to the International Friendly match between Turkey and Republic of Ireland at Antalya Stadium in Antalya, Turkey. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
23 March 2018; Republic of Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane, right, and manager Martin O'Neill prior to the International Friendly match between Turkey and Republic of Ireland at Antalya Stadium in Antalya, Turkey. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Aidan Fitzmaurice

Aidan Fitzmaurice

ROY Keane says he has no worries about the international future of young star Declan Rice after Rice's club owner tipped him to be a star with England.

Rice made his senior Ireland debut against Turkey in March, having been promoted from the U21 panel, and the player, who qualifies via his Cork-born grandparents, has stressed his loyalty to the Irish cause.

That didn't stop David Gold, West Ham's co-owner, from saying this week that he is 'looking forward to the new manager turning Declan Rice into a strong English defender for the future of the England team'. Speaking at FAI HQ in Dublin on Thursday, Keane dismissed any idea of Rice opting for England.

"It's going to be pretty difficult as he's Irish," Keane said.

"Where else would he want to go? It's pretty straightforward. He is Irish."

The Ireland assistant manager says he's enthused by the arrival of new faces in the panel for the two friendly games, against France and the USA, and he had praise for the display of Shamrock Rovers forward Graham Burke in the testimonial against Celtic on Sunday.

"He had three shots on target, he tested the goalkeeper, you want a player to have some sort of effect on the game, but give the guy a chance," said Keane.

"It took me 20, 25 games at international level to find my feet and sometimes it's the senior players who disappoint you more than anyone else. So give them a chance, as I said it took me 20, 25 games to find my feet at international level so give them time.

"It's nice to have some new faces in, lads who have have been in the fringes for the last while, it adds a different type of energy to the group.

"It was different last week with the testimonial but there will be a better feel to it this week, a bigger game against France."

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