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Damien Duff Said An Irish Player Was "Caught" Singing The English Anthem But Everyone Knows Who It Is

By James Fenton

August 29, 2018 at 10:24am

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If you're a follower of Irish soccer, you'll know that the major talking point this week involves a young Londoner who doesn't want to play for the Boys In Green.

While that might seem perfectly normal, in the case of 19-year-old Declan Rice, he has already represented the Republic three times at senior level so most fans assumed he had firmly nailed his colours to the mast. However, it now appears the West Ham United star has gotten his head turned by the glitz and glamour of playing for England.

Qualifying to play for Ireland through his grandparents, Rice wore green at several youth levels but because his senior appearances came in friendlies, he still retains the option to represent England for the rest of his international career.

It's a fairly intense crossroads to be at for such a young man, and television, radio and social media has been swamped with opinions on the matter since Rice chose not to be included in the Irish squad for the upcoming Nations League match against Wales.

One such pundit offering his views was former international and all-round Ireland legend Damien Duff, who appeared on RTÉ last night.

Duff said that we need to give space for Rice to make his decision and spoke generally about the merits of those born across the Irish Sea representing Ireland. Alluding to his own playing career, Duff mysteriously added:

"I won’t name any names but I used to play with a player, for 40 or 50 caps he was with us, and I remember we all caught him rapid singing the English national anthem.

"Did we have a problem with it? Yes, but I still wouldn’t change it because he brought a lot to the Irish team.

"He obviously wanted to play for England but he brought an awful lot of happiness to our country.

Controversial indeed. However, the Twitter detectives out there didn't have to work very hard to find out who it was that was humming God Save The Queen while enjoying a career in green.

In Roy Keane's tell-all book The Second Half, released in 2014, the Corkman landed 2002 World Cup hero Matt Holland right in it by writing:

'For me, Matty is as English as David Beckham. He played for Ireland and he obviously has the roots.

'But he played for Ipswich in a play-off final in 2000 and he was singing 'God Save the Queen' at the top of his voice.

'I don't think he could have sung it any louder. Some of the other Irish lads saw him too so, at the next couple of international matches, we were going 'Turn that rebel music up a bit.'

Of course, Irish fans have the memory of elephants and were quick to bring up Keane's reference...

Screen Shot 2018 08 29 At 11 13 06

Well that appears to be that little mystery solved. To be fair, if Declan Rice ends up leading Ireland to World Cups and European Championships, most of us won't give a shite what he sings.

READ NEXT: Another Famous Irish Face Set To Run Against Michael D In Presidential Election And It's Becoming A Pattern


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