Mick McCarthy hands warning to West Ham United midfielder
Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has handed a warning to West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice amid the potential prospect of switching his allegiance to England. The 19-year-old has spent his entire youth career with the Republic but he has yet to make a decision to commit to them for the long-term.
Speaking to reporters, McCarthy warned the youngster from choosing England over them, given manager Gareth Southgate has plans to play him at the heart of the defence rather than his preferred midfield position. He added that Rice would also struggle for gametime amid the competition from an extended pool and is optimistic that the teenager will choose them.
He said: “I spoke to Gareth and he saw him as a centre-back. “I thought because he's not playing there at the moment“, he wouldn't be in there (England squad) in front of the ones already in there, plus he's not been in their youth system and come through like he was with ours and Gareth Southgate was running theirs for a long time. I want him playing in the position he is now at West Ham, for now and see where he develops. I think “he saw himself initially“ as a centre-half but then he is enjoying midfield. I'd like a decision at some stage.”
Under Pellegrini, Rice has settled into a holding role for the Hammers this term and this has paid dividends with a number of standout performances. Moreover, he has sorted out his future by penning a new long-term contract and things appear rosy for the youngster with the Hammers, provided he remains grounded and committed to the cause.
West Ham recently secured a rare 1-0 triumph over Arsenal in the London derby and the match witnessed Rice score his maiden Premier League goal. The victory has propelled the Hammers to the ninth position on the standings for the moment with 31 points on the board.