Mick McCarthy rang Declan Rice to apologise regarding his initial "curt" reaction after being told by the player that he would be switching his allegiance from Ireland to England.
"How it went down... It went down like a lead balloon because he'd played three games, I think. I think he kissed the jersey [if I'm not mistaken]," the former Ireland manager told Gary Neville on the Sky Sports Football Show.
The West Ham midfielder committed to England just over a year ago and has since won seven caps. He had played in three friendlies for Ireland under Martin O'Neill.
"Players have a choice, for which [country] to play for now," continued McCarthy.
"There’s another discussion: If you’ve played once - if it’s a friendly game, a full international - should that be you down as an Irish player, an English player, a Scottish player? Whatever it might be. I think it should, once you’ve played in the national team.
"But if you’ve got a choice, which he had, he played his games, he got in the West Ham team, he started flying.
"I mean, I went to see him and his Dad. I have to be honest, I didn’t say it publicly at the time but I didn’t think he was going to come with us. I think he was erring on the side of playing with England.
"I said to him at the time - I was pretty curt with him on the phone - I had to ring him back and say, 'I'm sorry, I wish you well. I hope you have a good career with England and with West Ham. Good luck'.
"It's his choice. He'd never played for me. I was so disappointed that we were losing such a good player."
"How it went down? It went down like a lead balloon!" 🎈
Mick McCarthy offers an insight as to how Declan Rice's decision to represent England was received in Ireland...☘
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