Monday 24 June 2019

Mick McCarthy expects Declan Rice to 'make his mind up' after resolving West Ham contract issue

Declan Rice
Declan Rice
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy will not put pressure on Declan Rice to declare where his international allegiance lies.

McCarthy met with the West Ham United player last month in a meeting he later described as 'really good'.

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.

Rice finally agreed a new contract with the Hammers last week after protracted talks and McCarthy feels he may now have the space to make a decision on who he represents at international level, although stressed that he won't be forcing the talented teen to reveal his intentions.

“There’s a lot going on for the young man," McCarthy told Talksport yesterday.

“We say, ‘oh they should be able to makes their minds up’, but he’s young fella and he’s only just got into the West Ham team.

“I remember saying when I was doing some stuff with Ireland, ‘look, let him get into the West Ham team, let him settle, let him be a first team player and then he’ll make his mind up’.

“I’m still of the same opinion.

“If he wants to play for me I’ll be delighted, and I’ll be picking him, but I’ve left it with him. I can’t do anymore.

“It’s not my job to decide whether he plays for the Republic of Ireland.

“There was a real issue with his contract [at West Ham] and they got that sorted out now, so I guess he’s got his head clear on that and he can make his mind up.

“My job is to pick him if he decides to play for us, and I hope he does because he’s an excellent player.

“He’s a player I can build a team around.”

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