England footballer Declan Rice apologises for pro-IRA Instagram post
England international footballer Declan Rice has apologised for making a pro-IRA statement on Instagram in 2015.
Rice released a statement after the post, made when he was 15, resurfaced on social media.
The 20-year-old midfielder, who previously represented the Republic of Ireland at senior level before switching to England, could be set to make his debut for his new country when they take on the Czech Republic on Friday.
Rice had been eligible to play for Ireland as his grandparents were from Cork and he represented the country from U16 to senior level, earning three caps.
He was called up to Gareth Southgate's side for the first time last week, after FIFA approved his decision to represent England.
London-born Rice made the "#UPTHERA" post on his Instagram account while he was still representing Ireland at underage level.
The West Ham player said he was sorry for any offence caused by his comments.
"I am aware that a poorly-expressed comment I made when I was junior player has been circulated on social media," the statement read.
"I recognise now that my attempt to show support for my team-mates at the time could be negatively interpreted.
"While my naive words were not meant to be a political opinion, and do not represent who I am, I sincerely apologise for any offence caused."
Belfast Telegraph Digital