Gareth Southgate responds to Declan Rice IRA comments

Gareth Southgate responds to Declan Rice IRA comments

Rice's Instagram post from 2015.

Rice played for an Irish national youth team at the time of his IRA-laced posts in 2015, in one case responding to a teammate by adding: "Wait til we draw England".

Rice could make his debut tomorrow night in England's first Euro qualifier against the Czech Republic at Wembley.

Preparing for a possible England debut after switching worldwide soccer allegiance from Ireland, Declan Rice apologised for past online expressions of support for the IRA.

"I recognize now that my attempt to show support for my teammates at the time could be negatively interpreted".

It would be his fourth senior worldwide match, having won three caps for Ireland in friendlies.

Speaking at the time, he said: "Like so many people around the world, I consider myself to be of mixed nationality".

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"Rice made the "#UPTHERA" post on his Instagram account while he was still representing Ireland at underage level.

"While my naive words were not meant to be a political opinion and do not represent who I am, I sincerely apologise for any offence I caused". However, I am just as proud of my family's Irish heritage and my affinity and connection with the country.

"As you can hear, I am English".

Rice had been embroiled in an global tug-of-war between England and Ireland despite making three friendly appearances for the Boys in Green over the summer. I know how keen his dad was for him to wear the green shirt and play for Ireland, and that made his decision to walk away from the squad very hard for him. "Until his career is finished and he can assess what he has achieved, he won't know whether he has made the right move by switching to England, but I believe you have to respect what he has done".

"We've probably said things, written things that would look different several years later".

The FA said in a statement: "We are aware of the matter and will be writing to him to remind him of his responsibilities".

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