Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy has surprisingly claimed he is “glad” England have given Declan Rice his debut, following the West Ham midfielder’s decision to switch international allegiance.
The 20-year-old recently wrote to FIFA to request the transfer of his international registration, having previously played three times for Ireland in friendly matches.
The West Ham star made his England debut at Wembley last night (Friday) as the Three Lions won 5-0 against Czech Republic in a Euro 2020 qualifier, and McCarthy has spoken out about not being able to call upon Rice for Ireland’s campaign, giving a view that will surprise some people.
“[He was] Never my player, so it is not something I have lost,” the Republic of Ireland boss said, speaking to BBC programme Football Focus.
“But this season, he has had an exceptional season and he looks like a very talented player who is going to play for England.
“Would it have been good if he had played for us? Of course it would, absolutely.
“But do you know what, in a way I’m glad England have done it, because it shows it is not only us trying to get players who have got the heritage to play for us, other teams do.”
Rice said at the time that it had been an “extremely difficult decision” and one that he had not expected to make at this stage of his career, while he said after playing for England last night that it had been a “special night” for him to make his debut for the Three Lions.
Meanwhile, England boss Gareth Southgate explained his decision not to start Rice last night when he spoke to ITV Sport ahead of the game, in which the West Ham midfielder later came on as a substitute.
“He has trained really well but he’s only had a few days with us,” said the England boss.
“We need some of our leaders on the field as well, we’ve had to make some changes, so it’s important we’ve got some stability but some really exciting attacking talent.”