Wednesday 12 December 2018

McCarthy set for talks with Rice

Declan Rice. Photo: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters
Declan Rice. Photo: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters

Matt Law

Mick McCarthy is set to make a last-ditch bid to convince Declan Rice to ignore England's advances and stick with the Republic of Ireland.

New Ireland manager McCarthy was in the stands at the London Stadium to watch Rice help West Ham United to a 3-1 victory over Cardiff City on Tuesday night.

Now McCarthy wants to hold talks with Rice this week to try to stop the 19-year-old switching his international allegiances.

Rice's father Sean is believed to favour his son sticking with Ireland, who he has made three senior appearances for and represented at youth level.

But Gareth Southgate has been trying to persuade Rice, who was born in London, to switch to England in time to be considered for the Euro 2020 campaign.

While McCarthy and Southgate battle over Rice, West Ham are unlikely to re-open contract talks with their youth product until the end of the season.

Rice's current deal is worth just £3,000-a-week (€3,400) and West Ham's last offer was an increase to £15,000-week (€16,800), including bonuses that could have taken the salary up to £40,000-a-week (€45,000).

But that offer was rejected, with interested clubs Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea and Bayern Munich prepared to pay Rice more.

Rice is under contract until 2020 and the Hammers have the option to extend his present deal by a further year, so the club are in no rush to reach an agreement.

Despite the impasse over his contract, Rice reaffirmed his commitment to West Ham yesterday by posting a picture of himself on Twitter with the message 'passion'.

Meanwhile, West Ham fear star man Marko Arnautovic will be out until the New Year with the hamstring injury he suffered against Cardiff.

Lucas Perez, who replaced Arnautovic, scored two goals in West Ham's victory but Arnautovic's absence for such a busy period will be a big blow to manager Manuel Pellegrini. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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