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Gary Neville Ignores Green Elephant In The Room During In-Depth Declan Rice Interview

By Gary Connaughton
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Many Ireland fans still have a sour taste in their mouths when it comes to the whole Declan Rice saga.

While other players have turned their back on Ireland to pursue international football with other nations in recent years, the West Ham man's case is by far the most high profile.

Rice earned three caps for Ireland back in 2018, crucially all in friendlies. As the player's stock began to rise, and with Martin O'Neill having failed to give him a competitive debut, English interest became clear.

The midfielder would step away from international football for some time, eventually declaring for England in 2019 after a protracted saga. He has since established himself as a key player in Gareth Southgate's side.

An English born footballer declaring for England is not an issue, although many were unhappy with the way Rice went about things. It was thought we could be given an insight into the process behind his departure this afternoon, although that has not proven to be the case.

Gary Neville & Declan Rice gloss over Ireland departure

Declan Rice appeared on Gary Neville's The Overlap this afternoon, with the pair conducting a wide ranging interview discussing various aspects of his career.

[Watch Video]


The topics included his time in the Chelsea academy, being released by the club, coming through at West Ham, establishing himself in the team, making his England debut and the dynamics within the English camp.


One notable absence from the interview was any mention of Ireland. Not even in passing.

In fact, Rice and Neville discussed every aspect of his career in-depth apart from his spell with The Boys in Green.


The closest we got to the subject came in a teaser video released last week for the interview, during which the 23-year old said the proudest moment of his career was making his England debut.

It was special, incredible. Just getting on the pitch, you never think it would happen, but it did and it was really, really special.

Neville's interviews on The Overlap are usually quite off limits, although perhaps it was agreed that the subject of Ireland would be shelved on this occasion.


It certainly would have been interesting to hear Rice discuss the whole thing with a fellow professional. He has spoken about it briefly in the past, revealing that he made the decision months before it was announced publicly.

One answer he does give in this interview is perhaps an insight into his thinking at the time. When asked about his ambitions in the game, Rice admits he wants to put himself in the best position to win as much as possible during his career.

I think the main one for me, and I've always said it, is that I don't want to have a career where I haven't won anything.

I grew up as a kid watching all these top players win the big trophies, like yourself winning the Premier League so many times and the Champions League.

As a fan and a footballer, I want to win the best stuff. I want to win the Premier League and lift that trophy, I want to win the Champions League, the FA Cups, the League Cups, stuff with England. I want to win it all.

I feel if you're a footballer and don't have that ambition, then why are you playing? They are the best moments of your life, winning those types of trophies. They are special days.

I've not won anything yet, obviously I came close with England, but I've about it before, what the day would be like to lift that trophy and the night out after, the memories you would have.

I definitely want to have that experience of winning trophies and being the best that I can be.

That answer, better than any other, probably sums up why he turned his back on Ireland in favour of a career with England.


It was well within his rights to do so, but that won't remove the bitter taste left over for so many. Clearly, he isn't ready to openly speak about it just yet.

SEE ALSO: Roy Keane Is Seemingly Out Of The Running To Become The Next Sunderland Boss

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