Read West Ham

O’Neill hopeful Rice returns to action with Ireland

Lynne Cameron/Getty Images Sport

Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill is hopeful that West Ham’s Declan Rice is going to change his mind and join up with his next international squad.

The Hammers youngster decided not to play for Ireland, despite being called up, during the most recent international break amid talk England and Gareth Southgate were keeping tabs on him.

Rice has represented Ireland at youth level and has played a handful of games for the senior side, but is yet to feature in a competitive fixture, meaning he is still free to change the country he represents.

Lynne Cameron/Getty Images Sport

Speaking to reporters about the player, as cited on Goal, ONeill spoke of his hope for the Hammers defender, with many close to the national team believing he’ll still go on to play for Ireland.

That would be nice and in an ideal world that would be terrific, when asked whether Rice and Arter would join up with his players next month. I hope that will be the case. Confidence has been restored after this performance and we are ready to go in those games.

Rice is now being left with a big decision to make over his international future and whether or not he decides to hold out for a call-up from the England squad or commit to Ireland.