Mick McCarthy confirms 'really good meeting' with Declan Rice and gives update on Patrick Bamford pursuit
Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has revealed that he held a 'really good meeting' with Declan Rice as the West Ham star looks set to make a decision on his international future.
Rice dropped a bombshell on previous manager Martin O'Neill by making himself unavailable for the Nations League game against Wales in September after meeting with England boss Gareth Southgate over the summer.
Despite representing Ireland from U-16 to U-21 level, and winning three caps in friendlies earlier this year, the Londoner has left open the option of switching by avoiding a competitive outing.
McCarthy made meeting Rice and his family a priority as soon as he was installed as Irish boss.
Speaking on Goals On Sunday, McCarthy said: "It’s just up to him when he wants to decide. That’s how I’ve left it to be quite honest with you. It’s not my decision as to whether he plays for the Republic of Ireland. It’s only my job if he wants to stay with us, I can pick him.
“He’s a really talented player. He’s a lovely lad. He’s got a really nice family behind him. He’s got everything about him that you’d want him to play for you.
“I’d love to build a team around him. We start in March. That’s my deadline, I need to know by then. He could be a future captain, he’s that type of player.”
McCarthy was also asked about the prospect of getting Leeds striker Patrick Bamford in the Irish setup.
“I have asked about him, I’ve asked about lots of players like I normally do,” said McCarthy.
“My intention is to speak to Patrick. He does qualify.
“He’s a terrific goalscorer, Patrick. He’s played against my teams. He just puts the ball in the net and you can’t have enough of those.”
Bamford played underage football for both Ireland and England.