Rice ready for end-of-season Ireland friendlies

Declan Rice


Declan Rice is hoping to end a memorable season on a high as he prepares for two high-profile Republic of Ireland friendly internationals

The teenager played more than 30 first-team matches for West Ham United in 2017/18, retained the Young Hammer of the Year award and was named Man of the Match on his senior debut for the Boys in Green in Turkey in March.

Before he heads off on a well-earned holiday, Rice has joined up with Martin O’Neill’s squad for a mouth-watering trip to Paris to face France on Monday 28 May and the visit of the United States to Dublin on Saturday 2 June.

These two international games will be another step in my development

Declan Rice

“It’s a nice way to finish off what has been an amazing season for me, personally,” the 19-year-old centre-half confirmed. “If you’d told me a year ago that I’d have achieved what I have achieved, I wouldn’t have believed you!

“I’ve worked hard, listened to my coaches and teammates, tried to learn from my experiences and mistakes, and I’m happy with what I’ve achieved so far, but there is still lots more for me to learn and achieve in my career. I’m still only young.

“These two international games will be another step in my development. I really enjoyed my Ireland debut and it’s been good to meet up with the boys again, as the atmosphere in the squad is really good.

“These games give us a chance to train together, get to know each other, try new things and get ourselves ready for our next competitive matches.”

Ireland missed out on this summer’s FIFA World Cup final in Russia, losing 5-1 on aggregate to Denmark in a two-legged Play-Off, and will return to competitive action in September, when they take on the same opposition, and Wales, in the new UEFA Nations League.