Soccer

John Giles reacts to the Declan Rice decision

Raf Diallo
Raf Diallo

06:20 14 Feb 2019


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John Giles says he understands Declan Rice's decision and "wishes him all the best".

The West Ham player confirmed that he will choose England over Ireland on Wednesday.

Rice finishes with three senior caps for the Boys in Green.

But no competitive caps meant a switch to England remained an open possibility.

John joined us as always on a Thursday and shared his view on the outcome.

"I would love him to have played for us and I think he's a terrific player," said John.

"But I would understand his position and he was only 19 when he played for us."

He added that Rice's past comments about wanting to play for Ireland were "genuine", before other influences changed that view.

Influences

"But since then he's become a better player and I think there are other influences," he said.

"That includes his agent and the chairman at West Ham. It's in their interest for him to play for England."

John does not believe any grudges should be held towards the player. And he also disputed the notion that Rice's Ireland caps were "an audition" for England.

"But first of all, I'd wish him all the best. He's a young fella," he said.

"It's his decision and he's entitled to make whatever decision he feels is best for himself."

He also pointed out that had Martin O'Neill capped Rice in a competitive game, this could have been avoided.

"The way the rules are, any chance of getting the player and I don't think it's nicking the player," said John.

"If Rice had been qualified for us at that time, there wouldn't be any talk of playing for England. He loved what he was doing at that particular time for us. It wasn't making him do something that he didn't want to do, that he would regret it. I don't think that kid would have regretted it."

John also spoke about playing against "one of the great goalkeepers" Gordon Banks.

The England World Cup winner passed away this week. John recalled facing him when Banks lined out for St Patrick's Athletic in the '70s.

 

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