Gary Neville claims Declan Rice should not have been able to switch allegiance from Ireland to England

West Ham midfielder appeared three times at senior level for the Republic of Ireland before switching allegiances to England earlier this year

Harry Latham-Coyle
Thursday 05 September 2019 10:42
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Gary Neville has claimed that Declan Rice should not have been able to play for England after winning three senior Republic of Ireland caps.

The midfielder has played three times for Gareth Southgate’s side and has been included the squad for this month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Rice appeared only in friendlies for Ireland, which meant he remained eligible for England, but Neville has urged Fifa and Uefa to reconsider their rules.

“I’ve heard he’s a really good lad, I just think that ultimately a player should not be allowed to play for his country’s senior team and then switch,” Neville said of Rice at the launch of the Cadbury Premier League Partnership in Dublin.

“It doesn’t feel right to me. It’s a really strange thing to see and ultimately Fifa and Uefa need to stop it.

“Country is about an emotion, it’s about a feeling and that might be England, it might be Ireland, it might be Wales, whatever country you play for I’ve no problem with the process of players picking who they want to play for.”

Rice was born in London with Irish grandparents and represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level before making his senior debut in March 2018.

But the 20-year-old revealed his intention to switch to England in February, and Fifa confirmed the change of allegiance in March.

Neville thinks that such a switch should not be allowed.

“There have been players who’ve asked for interviews and meetings with the national team manager. Why? Why is that influencing your decision, do you want some level of guarantee about play?

“I’ve issue with this sort of beauty parade to determine which country they play for. It should be taken out of the players’ hands.”

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