Belfast Telegraph

Watch: There's a part of Northern Irish psyche that wants England to win the World Cup, admits Rory McIlroy

The Northern Irish golfer gave a pensive answer to a football question at his Irish Open press conference

Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland.
Keith Duffy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin.
Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Keith Duffy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy's father, Gerry McIlroy, centre in white, on the 11th fairway. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the 11th tee. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Thorbjørn Olesen on the 11th tee. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the 11th green. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 6th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy with his caddy Harry Diamond on the 10th tee. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 5/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Rory McIlroy's mother Rosie and wife Erica at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin - Rory McIlroy has started his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 5/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Rory McIlroy teeing off the 2nd at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin - Rory McIlroy has started his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 5/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Rory McIlroy teeing off the 8th at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Ballyliffin - Rory McIlroy has started his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Jim Nesbitt takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Brian McFaddenat the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Enda Kenny and Jihad El Sibai take part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Jim Nesbitt takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Jim Nesbitt takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Rory McIlroy on the 1st tee with Tony McCoy, JP McManus and Dermot Desmond at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Rory McIlroy on the 1st fairway at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Keith Wood playing in today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Padraig Harrington playing in today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the fairway with Tony McCoy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Tony McCoy takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. JP McManus takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Keith Wood takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Keith Wood takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Graeme McDowell takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy practices before the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy on the 1st tee with his Tony McCoy at the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Rory McIlroy signing autographs for fans at today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Darren Clarke teeing off the 1st at today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Alan Lewis - PhotopressBelfast.co.uk 4/7/2018 Mandatory Credit - Picture by Justin Kernoghan Golf fans enjoying the fantatic weather at today's Pro-Am at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open in Ballyliffin, Donegal. Rory McIlroy will start his bid for a second Irish Open success alongside Matt Fitzpatrick and Thorbjon Olsen at the Ballyliffin links in Donegal. The 2016 champion and four-time major winner goes out with Englishman Fitzpatrick and Danish player Olesen in the opening two rounds. Last year's winner Jon Rahm tees off with Rafa Cabrera Bello and former US Open champion Graeme McDowell. Shane Lowry, winner in 2009, is grouped with Lee Westwood and Thomas Pieters.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Graeme McDowell takes part in the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.
Press Eye - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 4th July 2018 Dubai Duty Free Irish Open hosted by the Rory Foundation at Ballyliffin Golf Club, Co Donegal, Ireland. Rory McIlroy practices before the Pro-Am at Ballyliffin. Photo by Kelvin Boyes / Press Eye.

By Gareth Hanna

Rory McIlroy reckons there's a part of our Northern Irish psyche that would like England to win the World Cup.

The Holywood golfer is preparing to host the Irish Open at Ballyliffin but still has his thoughts on the world's biggest sporting news.

England, of course, sneaked past Columbia on penalties and into the World Cup quarter-finals last night and McIlroy admits he wouldn't mind seeing them go all the way.

Does Rory McIlroy want England to win the World Cup? 🤔 He even thinks there’s a little bit of you (maybe somewhere deep...

Posted by Belfast Telegraph Sport on Wednesday, July 4, 2018

"It is good to see someone from the Home Nations very well," he said. It's great they got through the penalty shoot-out last night. I thought Harry Kane was tremendous to step up and take that first one.

"I think they have got a great draw. I think Sweden is as good as they could have hoped for in the quarterfinals. They have got a good chance.

"As much as we say we don't want England to win, there's a part of us that would and I think it would be great.

"But there's a long way to go. I still think France are the favourites and we'll see what happens."

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