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McCarthy expected Rice decision

Filed: Wednesday, 27th February 2019
By: Staff Writer

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy says he knew that Declan Rice was going to declare allegiance to England.

The 60-year-old was re-appointed as the Irish national manger last November, some 17 years after he last held the post.

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Previously McCarthy had stated that he intended to build a team around West Ham's 20-year-old midfielder, having seen him feature under previous manager Martin O'Neill.

However having been snubbed by Rice earlier this month, McCarthy admits that he feared the worst the longer the situation dragged on.

"I didn't think for one minute he was going to join us," he said. "I was hopeful. Was I optimistic? No.

"If he wanted to stay, all he had to say was 'yes it's no problem'. The longer it went on I was confident in my own head that he wasn't coming.

"Now, I don't have to talk about him anymore. Good luck to him, he's got his own career to look after now and I've got mine."

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Rice, who previously represented the Republic in friendlies but never in a competitive match, admitted that the decision was the toughest he'd had to make during his short career.

"This has been an extremely difficult decision and, in all honesty, not one I ever expected to be making at this stage of my career," he said.

"I have equal respect and love for both England and Ireland and therefore the national team I choose to represent is not a clear cut, simple selection.

"Ultimately, it is a personal decision that I have made with my heart and my head, based on what I believe is best for my future."

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   arrow   In brief - Friday's news round-up [17th May 2019]
   arrow   Rice named in Nations League squad [16th May 2019]
   arrow   In brief - Thursday's news round-up [16th May 2019]
   arrow   In brief - Wednesday's news round-up [15th May 2019]
   arrow   Rice eyes Nations League spot [14th May 2019]
   arrow   In brief - Tuesday's news round-up [14th May 2019]
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