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Former Irish Underage Player Michael Keane Advises Declan Rice On England Decision

Former Irish Underage Player Michael Keane Advises Declan Rice On England Decision
By Maurice Brosnan Updated

England and Everton defender Michael Keane has offered his advice to young players weighing up a decision between Ireland and England.

The Declan Rice saga continues to unfold, with the uncertainty around his international future continuing as the West Ham youngster recently called it "one of the hardest (decisions) I will have to make in my career."

Keane is familiar with the situation, having played for Ireland's Under-17 and Under-19 team before switching allegiance to England. He spoke at the England press conference ahead of their USA friendly and advised players to "go with your gut."

Per the Independent, Keane explained that he always wanted to play for the Three Lions.

"I respect Ireland a lot and am grateful for the opportunity they gave me to play there but I always wanted to play for England.

"I would say just go with your gut. At the end of the day international football is great to play but I think you get more pride out of playing for the country you really want to play for."

Keane clarified that his heart was just more with the country of his birth and said family is an important aspect to the decision.

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This isn't to say I didn't want to play for Ireland, but my heart is more in England. All my family are in England, my dad moved over when he was nine years old so we don't have much Irish family. So I always wanted to play for England, so I would say just speak to your family. It is not just about getting the experience at a young age, you have to enjoy representing the country you play for.

Rice is of Irish descent through his father Séan, whose parents Margaret and Jack are from Douglas in Co Cork. In this modern society, it is a situation that will continue to occur. Just this week, Martin O'Neill admitted Northern Ireland's interest in Jimmy Dunne was a factor in him being called into the provisional squad.

Declan Rice has played for Ireland at every level, although his senior appearances were not competitive games and he is thus able to swap allegiance under FIFA regulations.

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SEE ALSO: The Irish Team That Should Face The North Tomorrow Night


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