Declan Rice has committed his International allegiance to England after many months of a will he won’t he saga. He was capped 3 times by the Republic Of Ireland. He was capped only in International Friendly’s so he was not tied to the Republic because these are seen as non competitive games and for this reason he is eligible to switch allegiance back to England, the country of his birth.
Many people will move to vilify Rice as to why he allowed himself to be capped by the Republic Of Ireland when his heart is now set on continuing his International career with England who are currently managed by Gareth Southgate. This particular decision was a tough one to reach and many of his closest confidants, be they family, friends, team mates and coaches were consulted along the way to him making this choice.
Yes, it will stick in the craw of many that he has turned his back on the green jersey but they are many angles to this story, did he have his head turned by Southgate, did he have a change of heart at one of the training camps he was involved in when involved with the Republic.
We may never really get the full story but let’s be honest, yes he won 3 caps but was he ever really going to be fully committed to a country that he would have only spent shorts periods of time in with parents.
Mick Mc Carthy would have done his utmost to get Declan Rice to commit his lot with the Republic but the pull of the country of birth probably proved too much. It is huge blow for every person that did work to get Rice involved from under 16 level up to under 21 level. It is a real quandary for countries like Ireland who in some cases depend on guys with parents or grandparents from the Republic of Ireland but who left for pastures new in search of work and other opportunities.
This situation has benefitted the Republic Of Ireland in the past with men like Mick Mc Carthy himself, Ray Houghton and Andy Townsend all born elsewhere but declaring to play in green through the 80s and 90s. This rule was used impressively by Jack Charlton to bring many guys over his tenure in charge. Although we are in different times now than we were back then, we qualified for 3 out of the 5 tournaments in his time at the helm, two World Cups and Euro 88.
What I am saying is times have changed and the Republic Of Ireland may not be the most attractive of places to place International football like it was while Charlton was in charge.
Declan Rice has chosen to commit to England and we will just have to wait and see will his decision be proven correct. He has committed to them but that does not mean he will automatically be selected by Gareth Southgate.
He may have had some assurances by the FA and Southgate’s staff that his name is currently in the mix but that list is long and winding. Just ask Jack Grelish who made a similar move a few years ago. The circumstances are different but the situation is the same.
The FAI has had to deal with this before and now on the back of this decision will look to UEFA ,and FIFA to clear up the ongoing quandary of this will he /won’t he saga. The impetus will be on their shoulders to make some sort of move to at least show up the unease of this situation and the impact it has.
I think the FAI will still have questions to answer but all in all, this decision was made by Declan Rice and a team of advisors. Whatever the reasoning for it, it will have to be respected and all in Ireland along with the FAI will have to respect it however hard that pill will be to swallow.
All parties can move on from this episode and both sides will hopefully learn from it and both the FA and FAI will be in a position to go to UEFA and FIFA and try and close this loophole so it will not happen again to other nations…