“It was done then” – Declan Rice says the atmosphere around England 2018 World Cup games made him change
Declan Rice has indicated that he has already decided to play for England in the 2018 World Cup, just weeks after fielding Ireland against World Cup-winning France.
ice won three caps for Ireland under Martin O’Neill that year, with debuts in March against Turkey followed by summer appearances against France and the United States.
In August, he asked to be excluded from the Ireland squad for the UEFA Nations League games in September, but the saga around his international future continued the following year with the replacement for O ‘Neill, Mick McCarthy, meeting the West Ham star over Christmas time.
Rice finally released a statement in February 2019 to say he chose to play for the country where he was born and raised, but stressed that it had been an “extremely difficult decision.”
The Londoner is now preparing for a major tournament with England and he appeared to the media on Wednesday to discuss some of his major tournament memories.
He explained how the footage of watching England reach the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 marked her.
“I was actually in Dubai,” Rice said, “There was a huge football fanzone with a huge dome and it was crazy. It was mental.”
When asked if this was the time he was considering leaving Ireland, Rice replied, “Yes, it was done then.
“We’ve talked about it so much, but obviously growing up watching England in tournaments too… you just feel the appropriate buzz, the effects and the country’s desire for players to do well.
“I remember watching the Panama game, the Tunisia game, the Sweden game. It was amazing.
“The song before the game, the national anthem. Just being a part of it. I was a fan of this tournament, so being a part of this tournament is amazing.
“It was like that, even in Dubai. There were thousands of English fans. You see when Trippier scored, all the fanzones in England went crazy. That’s what I want to be a part of now. can’t wait to experience this and just get the real buzz and excitement of the tournament. “
The discussion of Rice dominated O’Neill’s final months in the job, with the player being moved after the game against Turkey and then describing the English speculation as a “load of shit” after a man’s posting of the game against the United States at the Aviva.
But that was before an approach from Southgate, although the 22-year-old’s latest comments suggest that a lot of Irish time and energy was wasted in the seven-month period between the end of the World Cup and his final announcement.