Declan Rice issues statement on 'Up the Ra' comment

Reuters  David Klein

Rice issued a statement on Instagram today, apologising for the 2015 social media comment.

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".

But after those comments resurfaced on the eve of his potential debut for the Three Lions, Rice took to Instagram and posted a statement to apologize.

And Southgate said: 'I think people understand; most people will have children of those sorts of ages and people are still maturing at that age.

"I recognise now my attempt to show support for my team-mates at the time could be negatively interpreted".

Rice, who was 15 at the time and playing for Ireland under-15s, also wrote about his hopes that the Republic would get England in an global football draw.

"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".

"I am a proud Englishman, having been born and raised in London", he posted.

Reuters  Carl Recine
Reuters Carl Recine

Southgate and his employers at The Football Association have spoken out against England fans chanting anti-IRA songs in recent months, with this incident certain to be a source of embarrassment after Rice's first call-up to the England squad this month.

"As you can hear, I am English".

Rice could make his debut for England tomorrow in their Euro 2020 qualifiers with the Czech Republic.

"Now I'm just really looking forward to the future and pulling on the England shirt".

"It was really good playing for Ireland".

"I got abuse a few years back when there were rumours that I might be considering switching my allegiances to England and it wasn't nice, so I can only imagine what kind of stuff he has been getting in the last few weeks since he made his intentions clear".

He will face no punishment from the FA but the body has written to the 20-year-old to remind him of his responsibilities.

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