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Wednesday 26 June 2019

FAI should take Rice case to FIFA: Hogdson

Roy Hodgson
Roy Hodgson

Former England boss Roy Hodgson reckons that the FAI should approach FIFA and lobby for a rule change to prevent the loss of players like Declan Rice to a rival nation.

Rice was capped three times at senior level by the Republic of Ireland and was in line to win the Young Player of the Year award for 2018.

But following a long period of debate over his international future, the 20-year-old has thrown his lot in with England and has stated his desire to play for the country of his birth.

That's a big blow to Mick McCarthy, the Ireland boss in Dublin last night to throw his eye over domestic talent as he attended the St Patrick's Athletic-Cork City tie at Richmond Park.

Martin O'Neill had previously stated his desire to see a rule change where a player cannot switch allegiance once he has played at senior level and Hodgson has rowed in with that.

"We have to be comfortable with it, because we have no option as these rules come from FIFA," said Hodgson, currently in charge of Crystal Palace but who managed England between 2012 and 2016, including two friendly games against Ireland.

"Things have changed enormously, and it is not like in the past, many years ago, where you were committed from the first time you put on a shirt, even putting on an amateur or schoolboy shirt of that country.

"That pendulum has swung now and you can play U21 games or even senior games as long as they are friendlies, and still change.

"But those rules have been in place for a number of years. All of us have had plenty of time to come to terms with it.

"Unless you are in a position to effect the rule makers, you can only accept it and get on with it.

"If you are Ireland or another country like that who have a player they could lose to another country, it is something that is a fact of life. They could only lobby to FIFA to try and make it harder for this to happen while they are seniors," added Hodgson.

Former FA boss Dan Ashworth admits that he spoke to Rice while with the England set up but revealed that senior team boss Gareth Southgate played a key role in recruiting the West Ham star.

"Ultimately, the player wants to hear from the manager," Ashworth said.

"I didn't pick the team, the people that pick the team are the managers and they are the ones that will ultimately decide whether the player plays or not so that's the main conversation.

"So Gareth would have been the most important cog in that wheel.

"I know he's spent months deliberating on it, no secret from the fact that he met England and Ireland to discuss his future.

"Obviously he's liked what we've had to say and wants to push his allegiance towards England and the team.

"He's decided he wants to play for England and he's English. As an Englishman, I'm delighted about that," added Ashworth, previously the Technical Director with the FA but currently working with Brighton.

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