Belfast Telegraph

McCarthy wants to build Republic of Ireland team around 'future captain' Rice

 

Declan Rice
Declan Rice

By Paul Burrows

Mick McCarthy remains hopeful West Ham teenager Declan Rice will pledge his future to the Republic of Ireland.

The London-born 19-year-old has already been capped for the Republic but has not been involved in any competitive fixtures while he considers playing for England instead.

McCarthy, who began his second spell as national boss last month, revealed he has held talks with Rice and feels he could be a future captain of the country.

"I had a really good meeting with him," said McCarthy.

"There was myself, (assistant manager) Robbie (Keane), Declan and his dad and it is just up to him what he wants to decide - that's how I've left it.

"It's not my decision as to whether he plays for the Republic of Ireland, it's my job - if he decides that he wants to stay with us - to pick him.

"I think he's a really talented player. I thought he was a lovely lad, he's got a really nice family behind him and he has everything about him that makes you want him to play for you.

"That's still my case, I want him to play for us.

"I'd love to build a team around him. We start in March and that's my deadline I guess, I need to know by then.

"I'd like to build a team around him and he could be a future captain - he's that type of player."

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