Former Republic of Ireland international Andy Reid has given his blessing to Declan Rice, telling talkSPORT (Hawksbee and Jacobs, 13/03, 13:30-14:00) that he hopes he does really well for England.
The West Ham United midfielder earned his first call-up for Gareth Southgate’s squad yesterday afternoon.
He had played in three friendly fixtures for Ireland before switching allegiances.
Reid played 29 games for his country and played club football for numerous clubs including Tottenham, Sunderland and Nottingham Forest.
Rice’s decision hasn’t proved overly popular with the Irish natives but Reid feels that’s not really his fault.
He told talkSPORT: “That’s the risk you rake. Us as a nation and an association, we know that’s a risk.
“The fact Declan played three senior international games for us makes it a tad more disappointing, but good luck to the lad, we hope he does really well.”
Rice, 20, has been in stunning form for the Hammers this season.
He has been a formidable component in Manuel Pellegrini’s team and his call-up for England duty is wholly justified.
Reid, however, believes Ireland need to continue scouring the country for players who might be eligible to play for them.
The man who was recently appointed head coach of the Under-18 Republic of Ireland team knows that it’s a thankless task.
He said: “We have to keep looking at players like Rice. We don’t have the pool to choose from that England or the bigger nations do.
“We need to use every player we can and players who are second generation Irish living in England are a part of that.”
Andy Reid being the bloke he is doesn’t typically have a bad word to say about anyone.
He is clearly upset that Ireland has lost a very talented footballer but unlike some supporters, he appreciates that it’s the system that is to blame and not the player.
It’s fair to say the system is flawed.
How anyone can wear an Ireland strip for three games and then choose to play for England is frankly ridiculous and perhaps needs looking at.
Ireland’s loss is Gareth Southgate’s gain, however, and now all eyes will be on the forthcoming games to see if Rice can win his first cap.