Roy Keane has rubbished comments from West Ham co-chairman David Gold about Declan Rice's future.
As the pair started work with their players ahead of friendlies against France and the USA, including Rice, Keane responded to Gold's challenged this week to new Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini to develop the 19-year-old defender into an England international.
Keane said: "It's going to be pretty difficult if he's Irish - and he is Irish. He plays for Ireland. Where else would he want to go, if you had a choice, Ireland or England?
"It's pretty straightforward, isn't it? Ireland."
Keane and Martin O'Neill will attempt to blood a new tranche of Republic internationals with the Sky Bet Championship play-off final and injuries having blown a hole in their resources to the extent that four uncapped players - Bohemians keeper Shane Supple, Peterborough counterpart Conor O'Malley, Millwall midfielder Shaun Williams and Shamrock Rovers striker Graham Burke - have been drafted in.
Supple's presence in the squad is remarkable given that the now 31-year-old went to Keane and asked to terminate his contract at Ipswich after growing disillusioned with the game in 2009.
Keane said: "What I admired about Shane is that he had made his mind up. Sometimes you have to read that situation and there was no point in trying to make it any worse for him.
"You've got to admire that. For a young person, it's a brave decision to step away from a potentially great life living in England and working at the top level - because clearly he's a talented boy - but he decided it wasn't for him. I admire him for that."
Keane is still determined to return to club management one day despite admitting football is a "mad industry".
He is currently in his fifth year as assistant to Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill having previously managed in his own right at Sunderland and Ipswich.
The former Manchester United skipper reflected on the merry-go-round which has claimed Premier League casualties Sam Allardyce, David Moyes, Carlos Carvalhal and Paul Lambert this month.
Keane said: "Is that long, five years? No, it's difficult. Listen, the managers in England are obviously under huge pressure, but having said that, I think they're well looked after. They get well looked after in terms of their contracts.
"But there's huge pressure on managers. You look at good managers going in and out of doors and it has you scratching your head.
"I used to try to figure it out before, certain managers not getting enough time at a club, but I've stopped trying to do that, it just doesn't make sense. It's kind of a mad industry we're in at the moment.
"If you can get a bit of stability in your job, fantastic, but at the moment, particularly at club level, it's probably non-existent."
Nevertheless, Keane has insisted since leaving Portman Road in January 2011 that he would return to club management one day, and he remains intent on doing so.
Asked if he would still like another chance, he replied: "Yes. Despite everything I said, I'd like another go, yes."