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Kilbane hits out at West Ham defender Rice: This is poor

Former Republic of Ireland defender Kevin Kilbane has hit out at West Ham defender Declan Rice.

Rice has turned down a call-up for next Thursday's UEFA Nations League tie with Wales that would have committed his long-term future to Ireland.

He is deliberating on his options after an approach from England boss Gareth Southgate.

"I'm not happy with this, genuinely not happy with this," Kilbane said on the Off the Ball podcast.

"This is poor. This is not on. Three caps, all the messages, kissing the badge. The messages and the signals all indicated to him being fully with us essentially. Why play in the first place? Why start playing for us? I don't buy it.

"You've got more value by playing for England, there's probably better wages down the line but playing international football is not about that and it never will be in my mind.

"He's changed his agent over the summer. Your agent is saying, 'This is great for you, you're getting international caps but don't play a competitive game', knowing full well that this is the first competitive game.

"You've got to applaud Martin O'Neill for this because many managers would come out and tow the line that Declan is injured or he's not quite right. He's come out today and said, 'Look, this is what I'm dealing with here. England have been in touch and we've got to respect his decision for that'.

"Agents accused me in the past of tweeting to get likes and all this sort of crap. That's not the case honestly. Genuinely with this, he's had his head turned. Why on earth play for us in the first place and then consider playing for another country?"

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Paul Vegas

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