West Ham’s Declan Rice has been named the Irish Young Player of the Year.
The choice is a controversial one as Rice has recently switched his international allegiance to England, and is expected to be named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.
However, as the voting took place before he announced the switch, the results stand, although he himself will not be present in Dublin on Sunday when the award will be handed out.
The 21-year old who was born in south-west London, originally qualified to play for Ireland through his grandparents who are from Cork. He played for the Republic at all age groups from under-16 upwards, and made his senior debut for the national side against Turkey in March last year.
However, because the three senior caps he earned all came in friendly matches, FIFA rules allowed him to make the switch.
Andy is an exiled English football fan living in Cyprus. He loves all sports but football is his abiding passion, and he still has dreams every now and then about scoring the winning goal in a Wembley Cup Final, even though his playing days are long gone. He follows most major leagues, across Europe at least, and has a favoured team in each. When he’s not watching, listening, reading or downloading podcasts about football, he spend his time worrying about his beloved Arsenal.