By James O'Connor
Former RTE pundit Eamon Dunphy has blamed Ireland’s management team and John Delaney for failing to secure Declan Rice as an Irish player.
Rice has been left out of Ireland’s UEFA Nations League squad to play Denmark and Wales as his international future remains up in the air, and Dunphy has criticised Ireland for not having the West Ham star nailed down already.
Dunphy told the Second Captains podcast: “The buck stops with John Delaney. He should ask Martin O’Neill, “what’s going on here Martin? This is unsatisfactory. Why didn’t we have Declan Rice on the pitch against Moldova for 10 minutes, how didn’t we know about other players, how did we lose (Jack) Grealish?”
“There was a thing that Jack (Charlton) did, he went to Oxford to get Ray Houghton, John Aldridge. Jack was very assiduous. John Giles got Mark Lawrence in to qualify for Ireland when he was playing for Preston.
“It had been going back to my time, Joe Kinnear was a Londoner, I roomed with Joe, he was playing with Spurs and a top-class player, we got him because someone was on that case."
Dunphy also shed light on his broken relationship with Ireland’s assistant manager Roy Keane, and why he thinks there is a fractured relationship between Keane and his players.
“I don’t think he (Keane) is comfortable around people and tolerant. It’s hard to imagine how you could fall out with John Walters, twice. At Ipswich and then have another go at John a couple of weeks ago.
“I think Saipan changed him. The fact that he became a national hero to half the country I think affected him to be honest, because I found him very good in my dealings with him and they were over a number of months.
“A most delightful man, no sign of a temperament or anything like that, but I think there have been too many incidents...all of that anger isn’t good around the camp.
“International weeks are particularly important and there is a question. And people I have talked to from within the camp say the work isn’t being done.
“You can’t just turn up at the Aviva an hour before the game and tell players that they’re playing. You’ve got to work with your team during the week before the game, it simply can’t be done.”