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Sod off Declan, says Irish international

Filed: Tuesday, 26th March 2019
By: Staff Writer

Irish international James McClean has criticised West Ham's Declan Rice for turning his back on ther Republic of Ireland in order to feature for England.

Whilst Rice and his new England team mates were enjoying 5-0 and 5-1 wins over the Czech Republic and Montenegro during the current international break, McClean and hs team mates endured a rather more difficult start to their Euro 2020 campaign.

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Under the guidance of returning manager Mick McCarthy, the Irish - including Stoke City's McClean - managed to beat European minnows Gibralter 1-0 on Saturday thanks to a second half Jeff Hendrick goal.

However less than 48 hours after their narrow victory against the British overseas territory (population: 34,000) and the inevitable ensuing criticism from Irish media, the Republic's McClean turned on Rice for choosing to change his international allegiance last month.

"He said he was a proud Irishman, then he said he was a proud Englishman," moaned McClean. "If he's both, good luck to him but I don't buy it. I think you're either one or the other.

"I was with Derry City when I got the call-up to play for the North and I turned it down because it's not my country, it's never been my country. I'm an Irishman. I grew up on the island of Ireland, simple as that.

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"We only want players here who want to play for Ireland, who feel Irish and are proud to be Irish. It's not just Declan, it's anyone else. If you're not proud to be here and we're a stepping stone then sod off and play for someone else."

McClean is of course no stranger to controversy; for many years now he has refused to wear a poppy around the time of Remembrance Sunday despite earning a living in the English football leagues.

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