Declan Rice: I’ve endured death threats for quitting Ireland

Declan Rice: I’ve endured death threats for quitting Ireland

By Simon Peach

Declan Rice has revealed threats were made against him and his family after switching allegiance from Ireland to England. Having represented the Irish team at youth level and won three senior caps, the 20-year-old made ripples at the start of the year by announcing his attention to switch to the country of his birth.

Rice won his fourth England cap in Saturday’s 4-0 defeat of Bulgaria and the change of nationality did not go down well with some, leading to some vitriolic online abuse.

“Yeah, I’ve had a few bad bits,” he told ITV News when asked about social media attacks. “I’ve had people saying they’re going to come to my house... yeah, online.

“There’s a few bits I could go into, but I don’t need to go into it, threats to my family, threats to me. You click on their profile and they’d just be a fake profile, so don’t know whether it’s true or not.

“But do you know what? I know, thinking about it now, I was never actually scared about it, because always fans are going to be giving me abuse and whatnot over it. You just kind of look at it and laugh, you think: ‘Yeah, all right, as if you’re going to come and do that type of thing’.

It was tough, there has been some abuse, it was more for my mum and dad really. They were more worried about me than anyone else, I was always quite strong-minded.

“My mum obviously with me being her youngest, she was always a bit worried. Other than that, I don’t take any notice of it. I just try to keep focused.”

The control and protection, or rather lack thereof, on social media platforms is a hot topic at the moment, given the racist abuse aimed at players such as Paul Pogba, Tammy Abraham, and Kurt Zouma.

Ireland’s James McClean has regularly been targeted with death threats and sectarian abuse while on club duty.

England forward Marcus Rashford, another targeted online, last week said the fight against racism was “going backwards rather than forwards” and called on social media platforms to get a grip on the issue.

Soccer Podcast: The Noel Mooney Interview — Will the FAI show League of Ireland the love?

Making individuals accountable for their profiles has regularly been mentioned as a potential step forward, and Rice says he can’t believe the number of fake profiles that are allowed to be created.

“It’s outrageous, even with the racism thing,” he said.

“Even if you look at half these people’s profiles, they’re fake profiles. There’s someone behind it, but they’re using a fake profile and they’re still getting caught out. We’re in 2019 and it’s happening week in. week out. It’s not good enough, we need to stamp our authority better.”


More in this Section

Home thoughts from abroadHome thoughts from abroad

At war for the survival of Rugby CountryAt war for the survival of Rugby Country

Bournemouth end long wait for a win at SouthamptonBournemouth end long wait for a win at Southampton

City boss Fenn still looking for first win; Dundalk close in on titleCity boss Fenn still looking for first win; Dundalk close in on title


Lifestyle

For an instant supper or lunch, fishcakes can be nourishing, warming and tasty. To complete a balanced meal, all it takes is some stirfried or roasted root vegetables.Taste of the sea: Top 8 fish cakes

My seven-year-old stood tall, whispered “bravery” to herself and stepped into the pitch-black dungeon. I stood there and watched her disappear.Learner Dad: I hate nostalgia, I think it’s mawkish and sentimental

Dr Phil Kieran says head lice is incredibly common among school children and offers practical advice on how to remove the crawlers with easy treatments.Tackling head lice: Easy treatments to remove itchy creepers

Gráinne Healy only started running regularly a few years ago. She’s already completed 50 parkruns. She tells Rowena Walsh what motivates her.Ageing with Attitude: Parkruns and quiet Friday nights

More From The Irish Examiner