Gary Breen on Declan Rice decision: Ireland shirt should not be an audition

Representing Ireland should not be an audition, according to former Irish International Gary Breen following Declan Rice's declaration for England.

The West Ham midfielder lined out with the Boys in Green on three occasions but is now expected to be named in Gareth Southgate's squad for England's upcoming games against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

London-born Breen says the international rules must be tightened.

Breen said: "The very fact that he says I'm a proud Englishman is the part of that statement that resonates because I don't understand where that proud Englishman was when he was singing the national anthem.

"I respect the decision, it's up to him and it's a personal choice, I've no issue with that whatsoever, but that decision needs to be made before he ever pulled on the senior jersey.

"I don't think our Ireland shirt should be an audition for anyone, and it's not just aimed at Declan."

Breen said he feels "hoodwinked" by Rice’s decision.

“In terms of his ability and what he could potentially bring to our team, of course it is, in isolation, a massive loss,” Breen told Newstalk’s Off the Ball.

“But ultimately, it’s proved he’s not Irish. I’ve always said that from the start of this saga.

I feel hoodwinked because I bought into everything he said.

"I listened to how eloquent he was and how much he made me believe it meant to play for Ireland."

He has called on Fifa to overhaul the rules to avoid such situations dragging on.

“The final decision should be made when you sign your professional contract at 18. It makes a mockery of the fact that we’ve allowed him to play in all our underage teams."

Most Read in Sport