The question on many English and Irish fans over the weeks was, who would Declan Rice choose to play for?
After playing for the Republic of Ireland in recent years, he had a big decision to make. Now, the West Ham midfielder has opted to play for England, where he was born rather than continue with Ireland.
This decision incurred different reactions from the two sets of supporters. England fans are, naturally, delighted to get such a hard-working, vibrant midfielder, while Ireland fans were left disappointed. Rice has been making waves in the Premier League, having put on some memorable performances for the Hammers this season.
Sensing his rise in popularity, Rice caved into the demands of his home fans to pledge his alliance with England. However, he could’ve gotten better assurances over playing time with Ireland. Mick McCarthy had even insisted that he would build his team around Rice in the future, a big compliment for him as the former Ipswich boss looks to make his side far more competitive than in recent years.
While he would’ve been a natural selection for Ireland, breaking into the England team isn’t going to be easy. With the likes of Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard having consolidated themselves as regulars and youngsters like Mason Mount, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Harry Winks coming up, it’ll be difficult for him to break in soon.
Rice has the potential to become a regular for England and solidify their midfield with his tough-tackling demeanour. However, he’s opted to take the high-road to success, ignoring the immediate, relatively smaller stardom the Irish presented him.