Rice ‘proud’ of performance in Republic of Ireland bow

Declan Rice

Declan Rice admits his Man of the Match performance on his senior international debut for the Republic of Ireland has left him filled with pride.

The 19-year-old was named in the Ireland starting XI for the first time for Friday’s friendly fixture with Turkey, and although Rice and his teammates fell to a 1-0 defeat, the defender impressed on his first showing for the nation. 

Rice’s efforts saw the youngster named Ireland’s standout player, and the West Ham centre-back is delighted with his showing. 

“I thought I did well for only being 19 years old on the international scene,” Rice said after the match. “I was proud of myself. You're only out there for 90 minutes and you have to give it everything you've got. It's a game of football at the end of the day.”

I was proud of myself. You're only out there for 90 minutes and you have to give everything you've got.

Declan Rice

An excellent individual evening for Rice began with the Hammer taking part in the Irish national anthem and, having qualified to play for the nation through his grandparents, it was a moment the defender admits left him feeling emotional.

He continued: “If I'm honest, it brought a little bit of a tear to my eye singing the national anthem and thinking of my nana and granddad. It was a special moment. I knew the anthem well to be fair!

“But I've come away, played in the game and loved every minute of it. I've loved being around the team and at the moment I'm fully focused on playing with Ireland.”

Having made his international bow, Rice will return to the Ireland U21s for a UEFA U21s Championship qualifier with Azerbaijan on Tuesday. 


Following this Rice and his West Ham teammates will return to club duty, with a home fixture against Southampton this Saturday.

With the Irons just outside the Premier League bottom three, Rice knows the importance of claiming a win in this fixture.

“It's tough and nobody likes being in the situation we're in, We're out of the bottom three at the moment and we have a massive game coming against Southampton, they're on 28 and we're on 30 points. We have to go and win the match.”