Ireland captain Seamus Coleman has weighed in on the Declan Rice situation at a press conference on the eve of his team's Nations League match against Wales.
The Everton right back didn't criticise the West Ham player for excluding himself from selection for Ireland's upcoming fixtures and argued that his decision on whether to declare for Ireland or England is not a straightforward one:
Look in an ideal world we'd have all players here and playing for us. On Declan's situation I suppose some people back home might not like to hear but he's a 19-year-old boy who was born in England, but that's no reason he can't be a proud Irishman.
I seen him after the Turkey game getting man of the match and I seen him embrace his father in the tunnel and that's not for show, that's genuine. He was genuinely proud to play in the games that he did.
In an ideal world we'll get him back, It's not as straightforward as 'you know what you are', which I've heard a few people say. The young lad was born in England there's no reason he can't feel some part English and also be very proud to play for Ireland which I know he is.
Fingers crossed we'll welcome Declan back with open arms.
Coleman on Rice: "There's no reason why he can't feel some part English and also be very proud to play for Ireland" pic.twitter.com/hfVjqnIPF6
— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) September 5, 2018
According to reports Rice is set to declare for Ireland (again?) after the Republic's friendly match against Slovakia next Tuesday. We shall see.