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Declan Rice and Jack Grealish were very different cases for Ireland

Declan Rice was a very different proposition to Jack Grealish for Ireland, says Dan McDonnell.

Journalist Dan McDonnell joined Adrian Barry on The Football Show to discuss Declan Rice and Jack Grealish.

Martin O"Neill is talking again. He's talking about his time in Ireland again.

And in true Martin O'Neill fashion, he's standing by his guns and saying he did nothing wrong. O'Neill was at the helm when Jack Grealish and Declan Rice first became senior players. Both Grealish and Rice played for Ireland underage, but are now playing for England at the World Cup.

Rice even played three times for Ireland before switching allegiances.

O'Neill says he didn't want players who had to be convinced to play for Ireland. And if true then that is a justifiable position to take. But Dan McDonnell thinks Rice and Grealish shouldn't be lumped together in that regard.

"There's almost two different cases," McDonnell said.

"The Grealish one, you would chat to people who were around the dressing room with Grealish even at under-21s level. There were people who always had the sense that he would jump. Or had a feeling that his preference was to go that way."

Both Grealish and Rice were born in England. But Rice appeared to have a closer relationship to his Irish identity through his parents. Grealish was an emerging youngster at a Premier League club. Playing international football at an underage level helped him. So playing for Ireland helped him.

With Rice there was a greater sense that he was choosing Ireland because of his Irish identity. England convinced him to go whereas Grealish always waited for the call.

There's also some revisionism from O'Neill because he seemingly locked Michael Obafemi down during his final game in charge. Maybe that order came from above his head since it was so late in his tenure. It's a possibility worth considering.

"I think the Rice one is the uncomfortable one for O'Neill still. At the time I wouldn't have been madly critical of him because the whole concept of bringing someone on against Moldova in the 90th minute to tie them down, I wouldn't be crazy about it.

"But then as it happened in O'Neill's last game in the job he did bring on Michael Obafemi at the end. And it did seem like he had changed his policy to some degree. He was capping someone just a little bit ahead of schedule just to tie them down.

"The Rice one it is the fact he played three games for Ireland. He was in the middle of it."

Morocco are a nightmare to play against.


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Declan Rice Ireland Jack Grealish Martin O'Neill