Monday 18 March 2019

Sam Allardyce and Stuart Pearce warn Declan Rice to avoid making 'terrible mistake'

Declan Rice
Declan Rice
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Declan Rice returned to the business of football last night as the debate over his international future raged on.

The 19-year-old was restored to the West Ham side for their 3-1 come-from-behind League Cup win at AFC Wimbledon.

There was extra attention on Rice in the aftermath of his decision to turn down an Ireland call for next week's UEFA Nations League opener with Wales after England expressed an interest in his services.

Former England U-21 manager Stuart Pearce suggested that Rice should stay put with Ireland after playing with them through the underage ranks in addition to his three senior appearances.

Pearce, who was assistant to David Moyes at West Ham last term, said: "When you commit to play for a country, at any age group, that should be your lot."

Terrible

Sam Allardyce urged Rice to think very carefully about his decision as he risked making a "terrible mistake".

"Is it better playing for England and it ends up being less than ten matches, or is it better playing for Ireland and playing 60 matches at international level?" said the ex-England and West Ham boss, speaking on Talksport. "That's the choice he has to make. It's a terrible mistake if he chooses England and then doesn't play."

West Ham survived a scare at 10-man AFC Wimbledon to secure Manuel Pellegrini's first win as manager. Joe Pigott headed the hosts ahead from a corner on two minutes before they lost Rod McDonald to a red card. Issa Diop made it 1-1 after the break and Angelo Ogbonna scored the visitors' second, with Javier Hernandez sealing the win.

Meanwhile, it was a landmark night for Galway teenager Aaron Connolly as he was introduced for his senior Brighton debut in the dying seconds of their 1-0 loss to Southampton.

Irish Independent

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