On the social media site Twitter this afternoon, football fans have been reacting to comments from former Republic of Ireland international and TV pundit Andy Townsend, on West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice.
Rice, 20, yesterday ended nearly a whole year of rumours surrounding his international future by committing it to England, despite having already worn the senior shirt of Ireland in three friendlies.
Under FIFA rules, a player is allowed to play for any country he is eligible until he makes a competitive appearance for one nation. While Rice’s heritage is Irish, he has been born and raised in London and considers himself an Englishman.
It’s the FIFA rules that ex-Chelsea midfielder Townsend disagrees with, “I think the rules are wrong,” and has spoken out against under 24 hours after Rice made his England announcement via his social media platforms.
Below is a selection of fan Tweets reacting to Townsend’s comments today…
The rules are perfectly good, and this is an example why. Don’t remember as much uproar when Alex Bruce switched to Northern Ireland.
— Lofty (@lofty_murphy) February 14, 2019
Would he still be complaining if Rice had played for England then switched allegiance to Ireland?
— Stuart (@s_t_u_a_r_t666) February 14, 2019
Considering he was born in england he has the right to feel English
— Devon Shadbolt (@DevonShadbolt) February 14, 2019
Born in Maidstone, From the Charlton era of “Drinking Guinness makes you eligible for Ireland”
Give it a rest Townsend. The rules that qualified you were ropey enough ✊??
— Si (@SiPuck73) February 14, 2019
— B (@Brad_Cheshire) February 14, 2019
The rules are fine. He should play for whoever he feels more comfortable playing for.
— Nick The Hammer (@nick1995whufc) February 14, 2019