Declan Rice’s international future should not be influenced by the behaviour of the Republic of Ireland’s coaching staff, according to Denis Walsh.
Joe Molloy was joined by Walsh and Vincent Hogan on the Sunday Paper Review in Paris ahead of the final day of action at the Ryder Cup.
West Ham midfielder Rice is currently subject of a tug-of-war between Ireland and England as both nations seek to secure the 19-year-old’s services.
Reports in the Sunday Independent suggest Rice is edging towards the Three Lions despite making three appearances in friendlies for Ireland at the end of last season.
Ireland assistant manager Roy Keane has clashed with Harry Arter and Jon Walters in recent months, leading Arter to announce he would be temporarily unavailable for international games.
But Walsh dismissed the idea that Rice would have been pushed to play for England because of in-house quarrels.
“What I would say is that if Rice’s feelings for Ireland were so shallow in the first place that he would be put off by an argument, that doesn’t say much for Rice in my opinion,” Walsh said.
“Managers change all the time. How much longer will O’Neill be there? How much longer will Keane be there? He seemed to be so passionate about Ireland and sincere in his feelings about playing for Ireland.
“I suspect it’s more the fact he saw England at the World Cup – a really happy bunch – which is almost remarkable in our lifetime to see a happy England team perform very well.
“They look like a team that could develop further under Southgate and I think that’s the main factor that could turn his head.”
Declan Rice in action for West Ham. Image: Dave Thompson/PA Archive/PA Images
Hogan also shared his opinion on the Rice saga and believes the contrasting approaches of England manager Gareth Southgate and Ireland’s Roy Keane have played a crucial role.
“It’s been a bit of a soap opera. And to have so many negative headlines around your assistant manager is a bit ridiculous,” Hogan told OTB .
“I think it’s an awful shame if we do lose Rice. He’s a proper player. I think he could be a big player for England – he’s that good.
“I think Southgate is right to treat the situation the way he has done but I think he’s also thinking about a couple of year’s time and thinking: ‘This guy could be a key midfielder for us’.
“It’s going to be a big loss for us. And if the Roy Keane [and] Harry Arter thing was part of that decision then this soap opera is even worse than we thought.”