Amid all the current controversy surrounding the FAI, it’s easy to forget that there’s the small matter of a Euro 2020 qualifier taking place tonight.
Ireland host Georgia in our first home game of Mick McCarthy’s second stint in charge and ahead of the match, midfielder James McClean has a message for Declan Rice and other players who may feel that their international futures lie elsewhere.
In an interview with RTÉ’s Tony O’Donoghue, due to air ahead of tonight’s clash, McClean is fairly unsympathetic to Rice, who has defected to England despite having won three caps for Ireland in the past.
“He said he was a proud Irishman. Then he said he was a proud Englishman. If he’s both, good luck to him but I don’t buy it,” McClean said before adding: “I think you’re either one or the other.”
The Stoke City man went on to say “It’s not just Declan, it’s anyone else. If you’re not proud to be here and we’re a stepping stone then sod off and play for someone else. I’m an Irishman. I grew up on the island of Ireland, simple as that. We only want players here who want to play for Ireland, who feel Irish and are proud to be Irish.”
McClean and his teammates will be hoping to follow up their scrappy win over Gibraltar on Saturday with another three points against Georgia this evening. The game gets underway at 7.45pm and will be broadcast live on RTÉ 2.