West Ham co-owner David Gold has said that he wants new manager Manuel Pellegrini to turn Declan Rice into an England international.
Back in March, the London-born player made his debut for Ireland in a friendly against Turkey in Antalya. Rice qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandparents who are from Cork. The 19-year-old has played for Ireland through the underage grades.
Speaking to Jim White on Talksport about the appointment of Pellegrini as manager, Gold said that along with signing new players, he wants the Chilean to work with the raw materials within the squad. He specifically mentioned Rice.
We have one of the brightest young centre-backs coming through from the academy in Declan Rice - he's 19-year-of age.
We want Pellegrini to turn this young man into an England player. That is the absolute truth.
Neither Jim White or his co-hosts pointed to Gold that Rice is an Ireland international. It was unclear if he knew the defender has been capped by Martin O'Neill.
Ha ha! David Gold hoping Manuel Pellegrini will turn Declan Rice into and ENGLAND player... Already setting unrealistic targets! 😂😂😂
— Daniel Gabbidon (@Gabbidon35) May 23, 2018
As that game against Turkey was not a competitive match, the option to switch allegiance is still open to Rice. Though, anyone who has heard him speak about playing for Ireland would be sceptical regarding the chances that happening.
Picture credit: Sportsfile