David Connolly blasts West Ham star Declan Rice after England decision

Crystal Palace's James McArthur and West Ham United's Declan Rice during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Ham United at Selhurst Park on February 9, 2019 in London,...

West Ham star Rice has chosen to play for England over Ireland.

Declan Rice of West Ham United in action with Christian Benteke of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and West Ham United at Selhurst Park on February 9,...

Former West Ham United striker David Connolly has blasted Declan Rice on Love Sport Radio for choosing to represent England over Ireland - despite playing three times for the latter.

Rice, 20, had represented Ireland three times but only in friendlies against Turkey, France and the United States. He has since been approached by England and Gareth Southgate.

His choice of whether to remain with Ireland or apply to FIFA to change his nationality to England - something which is allowed if you have only played noncompetitive matches at national level - has been debated for much of the season.

 

Rice finally made his decision in a statement he posted on Twitter on Wednesday, to the delight of many England fans while Irish supporters were unimpressed. Ex-Hammer Connolly, who played 41 times for Ireland, gave his verdict.

"If he actually, and truly, wanted to play for Ireland, I don't know," Connolly said. "He appeared three times - albeit in friendlies - you have to ask if that should be allowed. He has had the luxury of being able to change.

"He's changed agents, probably had people telling him playing for England is better for your career than Ireland. But it didn't do Roy Keane and Robbie Keane any harm and they played for some of the biggest clubs in football.

"I am gutted, I thought he could be brilliant for Ireland."

Dublin , Ireland - 2 June 2018; Declan Rice of Republic of Ireland during the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and the United States at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.

Rice had represented Ireland at both Under-19 and Under-21 level too, though he was born in London and came through Chelsea's ranks before moving across the capital to West Ham.

England are next in action at the end of March in European Championship qualifiers, going up against the Czech Republic at Wembley on 22nd before travelling to Montenegro on the 25th.

West Ham manager Glenn Roeder (L) gives instructions to David Connolly during the Nationwide Division One match between West Ham United and Sheffield United at Upton Park, August 16, 2003...

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