Michael Keane says he has some sympathy for Declan Rice having also represented Republic of Ireland at youth level



West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice is set to make his debut for England senior national team during Friday’s Euros 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic.

The 20-year-old decided to switch allegiances last month having earlier played for the Republic of Ireland in three friendly games, and the Irish have not taken it lightly.

There have been calls for FIFA to stop players from representing another country once they have worn the colours of a different country even in a friendly match, but Everton centre-back Michael Keane has offered his support to the West Ham man having also represented Ireland, albeit at youth level before declaring for England.

“I’ve some sympathy for Declan. It was not an easy decision for me at the time,” the Toffees star told BBC.

“When I was at Ireland I had in the back of my head that hopefully one day I could play for England.”

Keane featured for the Republic of Ireland at under-17 and under-19 levels before choosing to represent England at under-19 and under-21 levels.

He has since played five times for the senior team since making his debut in 2017 and will hope to keep featuring for as long as he can.

Rice represented at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels before earning a call-up to the senior team last year.

He was named the Republic of Ireland Young Player of the Year for 2019 just weeks after he expressed his desire to play for Gareth Southgate’s side, and he has been widely tipped to be a hit with the English national team for years to come.

Harry Kane lavishes praise on West Ham's Declan Rice
West Ham and Newcastle eyeing Erkan Eyibil