Declan Rice plays down talk of Republic of Ireland switch for England
By Danny Gallagher
Last Updated: 03/06/18 12:36pm
West Ham defender Declan Rice has played down suggestions from club co-chairman David Gold that he should play his way into the England squad.
The 19-year-old's impressive form has seen a call-up to the Republic of Ireland squad, with Rice making three appearances so far for Martin O'Neill's side.
Having not yet played a competitive fixture for the nation, however, Rice is able to switch allegiances should he choose to do so.
Hammers co-chairman Gold has recently championed the idea by challenging new manager Manuel Pellegrini to make Rice a fixture in an England shirt.
However, Rice, who can also play as a defensive midfielder, says his focus is purely on playing for Ireland following impressive performances against Turkey, France and the United States.
"It's one of those things, he's just come out and said it. I'm not going to take too much from it. I'm here and I'm playing for Ireland," Rice said when asked about Gold's comments.
"It's a question that keeps being asked. I'm just focusing on playing at the moment and enjoying my football - that's the main thing. There are two games coming up in September and we're looking forward to them."
Rice has also been backed to become captain of Ireland in the future by John O'Shea, who turned out for one final time for Ireland on Saturday, and the teenager admits he would not shy away from the challenge later in his career.
He said: "Maybe one day I do see myself as a future captain because I do have it in me to tell people and order people around.
"He's [O'Shea] been at the top of the game and played with some top, top players. To hear that from him, I don't like to take it on too much, but it's nice to hear. I've had a little joke with him."