Gareth Southgate comes out in support of Declan Rice
What’s the story?
Declan Rice has been fantastic for West Ham this season in the Premier League. The 20-year-old earned his maiden International call-up recently but it has stirred controversy. The West Ham defensive midfielder has represented the Republic of Ireland at youth levels and recently won Ireland's young player of the year award.
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He had even earned three caps for Ireland but they were in a friendly, so he was allowed to make the switch. His decision to switch his allegiance to England sparked a lot of debates. England manager Gareth Southgate has come forward and said that Rice doesn't owe any defence to anyone.
Heart of the matter
The England manager pointed out that Rice was born in England and he received his football education in English academy. While he didn't find it necessary to defend the West Ham midfielder, he admitted that the situation is a bit complicated as Rice has earned International caps for Ireland.
“Fundamentally, in this actual instance, he’s a boy that was born in London and educated at an English academy. So, I don’t think there’s too much that he needs to defend but I understand the fact that there was a senior cap with Ireland, so that was always going to make it more complicated." Gareth Southgate said as quoted by Sport 360
Southgate further added that the world is changing and dual heritage is the reality of this world. He highlighted the fact that in youth teams 50% footballers have dual heritage.
“People will move countries because of family work and, as I said, there is over 50 per cent of our younger teams that will have dual heritage or maybe more than two countries they can play for, and that is just the nature of the world.” England manager on the changing world
The England manager revealed that he met Declan Rice earlier to discuss this move. He claimed that he tried his best to give him some space. But he felt it was necessary to talk to him unless Rice would have thought that they were not interested in him
“Then I gave him as much space as possible, occasionally calling just to say, ‘look, we’ve not spoken but it’s not because we’re not interested, but other people will be talking to you a lot, so we don’t want to be silent and (for you to) think we don’t care’,” Southgate said.
England has shown that they really rate Declan Rice highly. Considering his age and talent the West Ham midfielder can prove to a great asset for the team.