'The whole squad are supporting him' - Harry Arter's message for Declan Rice as his big decision looms large
Harry Arter has offered his full support to West Ham star Declan Rice as he edges closer to decision on whether to commit his international future to England or the Republic of Ireland.
Appearing on RTÉ 2fm's Game On alongside Independent.ie reporter Kevin Palmer, Republic of Ireland midfielder Arter spoke openly and honestly about his row with Ireland assistant boss Roy Keane that saw him pull out of the national team squad in September.
Yet it was his backing for Rice that shone through, as he urged Irish football fans to give the teenager a little more time to make a decision that will affect the rest of his career.
"The manager has given him the full respect of leaving him out of the squad, supporting him throughout the whole thing, and I know as a squad we're doing the same," said Arter.
"Declan is a young lad. He's a top player, someone who will reach as high as he wants in my opinion. His attitude and work ethic is unbelievable. You see so many young players nowadays with all the ability but who probably don't realise what it takes to get to the top.
"Declan seems very old school in his beliefs and his upbringing. If he does pick England it will be a massive loss to us, there's no denying that. But as I say it is difficult for players when they have two countries they have string feelings for.
"As I say I know as a squad we've supported him and as a mate I'll be supporting him."
Arter also touched on his row with Keane that forced the Ireland assistant manager to make a phone call to end the feud shortly before the squad for last month's games against Denmark and Wales were announced, with the midfielder he has put the incident behind him as he admitted he has been exasperated by his below par performances in an Ireland jersey.
"As a squad we've got more important things to focus on than that (row)," he added. "I just want to try and start performing when selected. That's probably been my biggest disappointment throughout my time with Ireland. I don't feel I've performed anywhere near as well as I could have.
"There's no excuses really. I have to take responsibility for not bringing my club football to the international stage. There's no beating around the bush about it.
"I made a massive change in my life with the move to Cardiff. I don't want to go into the situation too much. I've said what I needed to say about it. At the time I just felt it was the best decision to make for myself and the team."