West Ham captain Mark Noble has jumped to the defence of Declan Rice by sharing his own story of rejecting the Republic of Ireland, The Daily Mail reports.
Rice has recently switched his international allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England.
This has earned the Hammers starlet plenty of criticism on social media from Irish fans but Noble has defended his team-mate’s decision.
Noble rejected a Republic of Ireland call-up in the past and revealed that he gave Rice a lot of advice when he was making his choice.
Declan Rice’s decision
Rice was born in London and has spent his whole life in the capital. He came through the ranks at Chelsea before moving to West Ham and speaks with a London accent.
But his grandparents are from Ireland and he represented the Boys in Green at every age group level.
Moreover, he even earned three senior caps for the Republic of Ireland but all of them were friendlies, making him eligible for the switch.
After much deliberation, Rice decided to represent England instead. And he looks set to win his first Three Lions call-up later this month.
Mark Noble on Declan Rice’s England switch
Noble has given Rice his backing in switching to England, citing his own international story. The 31-year-old had the chance to represent the Republic of Ireland but held out for an England call – something which never came.
As quoted by The Daily Mail, Noble said: “I spoke to him a lot about it. I made a decision a long time ago. When I was a kid I didn’t dream of playing for Ireland — and there are kids out there who dreamed of playing for Ireland.”