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Keane Backs Rice Decision

Keane Backs Rice Decision

Everton defender Michael Keane is the latest person to speak out in support of Declan Rice, who swapped the Republic of Ireland for England.

International eligibility has been a hot topic in recent weeks after the talented West Ham midfielder decided to represent his country of birth having played for the Republic’s youth teams and won three senior caps.

The fact all of those appearances came in friendlies meant Rice was free to switch to England, with Gareth Southgate naming him in the squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

Keane never represented Ireland in senior football, but played for them between under-17 and under-19 level before making the switch to England’s youth system, although he admits he dreamt of representing the Three Lions when turning out in green. Asked if he knew where Rice was coming from over the difficulty of the decision, he said: “Yeah, definitely.

 

Related: Everton Must Be On It – Keane

 

I have some sympathy for him. “It’s not an easy decision, it wasn’t for me at the time, so I can only imagine it’s harder for him. “I don’t know what his family situation is, who’s Irish or whatever, but I knew when I changed that I felt really, really English. My dad is Irish but I don’t know any of his Irish family, so I’ve never really felt like I’m fully Irish. “So, I don’t know how Declan feels but that was part of my thinking behind my choice. “But it’s one of them things.

He’s made a decision, we’re happy that he’s here and hopefully now people can now just forget that and let him prove his talent on the football pitch.”

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