Ireland under 16, Ireland under 17, Ireland under 19, Ireland under 21 and Ireland senior team have all selected and nurtured midfielder Declan Rice over the years.
The West Ham midfielder has now decided that his international future lies away from the Arriva and with those at Wembley.
The promising West Ham man has chosen birth place over grandparent eligibility, he has chosen England over Ireland.
Born in London, Rice became eligible for ROI as his grandparents were from Cork.
After receiving 3 full caps (all in friendly matches) under Martin O’Neill the youngster asked to be omitted from a squad to play Wales back in August 2018.
All-in-all Rice has pulled on the shirt of the boys in green on 23 occasions.
In the last few days he has released a statement that has confirmed the decision that could define his footballing future.
“I have equal respect for both England and Ireland and therefore the national team I choose to represent is not a clear-cut, simple selection.”
“Ultimately, it is a personal decision that I have made with my heart and my head, based on what I believe is best for my future.”
It is a big risk but one that could be full of reward should he nail down a place in the three lions’ squad. You’d have to suggest that England’s recent success at various age levels will have played a huge part in Declan’s decision. Perhaps a group stage elimination at the recent World Cup would have nullified any thoughts of a switch?
Whilst there has been the odd Irishman make noises of discontent – it is worth noting that Ireland, like many other nations have benefited from similar situations.
Look back to the late 90’s and you’ll see the Englishmen of Cascarino, Townsend and Aldridge.
The mid 2000’s would find the likes of McAteer, Holland, Kinsella and Clinton Morrison switch allegiance.
Perhaps the Scots could consider themselves equally hard done by with the losses of James McCarthy and Aiden McGeady to their near neighbours in recent years?
Kevin Kilbane who is 3rd on the list for all-time record caps was born in Preston and their most recent squad features a massive 9 non-Irishmen.
It’s a sore one for those across the Irish sea to take, as they have missed out on a player with a lot of potential but like it or not Rice has not broken any rules.
This doesn’t make it right, but Ireland will have to move on quickly and focus on the upcoming Euro qualifiers after suffering relegation in inaugural Nations League competition.
Declan Rice image sourced from; www.thetimes.co.uk