Last Updated: 13/09/19 5:44pm
West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has urged people to respect Declan Rice’s decision to switch international allegiance from Republic of Ireland to England.
The Hammers midfielder has revealed his decision led to threats against him and his family in some vitriolic online abuse.
The 20-year-old represented the Irish team at youth level and went on to make three senior appearances, although crucially not in competitive matches, before announcing his intention to switch to the country of his birth at the start of the year.
Rice has now established himself in Gareth Southgate’s plans and won a fifth cap for England in the 5-3 win over Kosovo at St Mary’s Stadium on Tuesday in their European Qualifier, with Pellegrini insisting it is now time to move on.
“I think Declan delayed his decision and had a think and a talk with the people important to him so I don’t have any doubt that it was the right decision Declan took for his life,” Pellegrini said ahead of West Ham’s game with Aston Villa – live on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports.
A Villa vs West Ham
September 16, 2019, 7:00pm
“Of course, not everybody is happy, but everyone has to respect him for that and he shouldn’t give them too much importance because it doesn’t matter what other people think.”
Meanwhile, Pellegrini reported no fresh injury concerns following the international break and confirmed winger Michail Antonio has undergone surgery on a hamstring problem he suffered during the Carabao Cup win at Newport.
“I hope that the surgery went well. The doctors are happy and now he needs time to recover,” Pellegrini added.
“I just spoke with him and he is without any pain, so everything is going in the correct way.”