Republic of Ireland: James McClean backs criticism of Declan Rice

Graham Burke, James McClean and Declan Rice
McClean and Rice with Graham Burke (left) after the Republic of Ireland's recent friendly victory against USA

Republic of Ireland star James McClean has hit out at Declan Rice's decision to consider his international future.

West Ham player Rice was omitted from the Republic's squad for their Uefa Nations League opener against Wales and could now declare to play for England.

London-born Rice, 19, has been capped three times by Ireland but has yet to play in a competitive international.

"Representing your country should be an honour and a proud moment," McClean said on Twitter.

Stoke City winger McClean was agreeing with former Ireland team-mate Kevin Kilbane's earlier criticism of Rice's apparent change of heart.

Kilbane, who is now a BBC pundit, expressed his disappointment at the request by the versatile teenager for more time to consider his future allegiance.

"I'd rather be ranked 150th in the world and never qualify again than have someone who has played, but needs time to THINK whether they should play for us again," said Preston-born Kilbane, who also added that he knew he wanted to play for Ireland when he was 10 years old.

McClean, who represented Northern Ireland Under-21s before declaring for the Republic, has played alongside Rice in all three of his appearances for Martin O'Neill's side.

Rice, who can play in defence and midfield, qualifies for the Republic through grandparents from Cork.

McClean responded to a tweet by former Ireland team-mate Kevin Kilbane
McClean responded to a tweet by former Ireland team-mate Kevin Kilbane

Republic of Ireland provisional squad

Goalkeepers: Doyle (Hearts), McDermott (Kristiansund BK), O'Hara (Macclesfield Town), Randolph (Middlesbrough)

Defenders: Coleman (Everton), Christie (Fulham), Doherty (Wolves), Duffy (Brighton), Keogh (Derby County), Clark (Newcastle United), Long (Burnley), Ward (Burnley), Egan (Sheffield United), Stevens (Sheffield United), Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers), Cunningham (Cardiff City)

Midfielders: Judge (Brentford), Hendrick (Burnley), Hourihane (Aston Villa), Browne (Preston), Williams (Millwall), Meyler (Reading), Arter (Cardiff City), Horgan (Hibernian), O'Dowda (Bristol City), McClean (Stoke City)

Forwards: Walters (Burnley), S Long (Southampton), Burke (Preston), Robinson (Preston), O'Brien (Millwall)

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