According to a source close to the SFA, 2018 Irish Young Player of the Year Declan Rice is considering a change of allegiance to Scotland. The news comes in the aftermath of the discovery of a previously unknown branch of the Rice family based in the Pass of Drumochter area in Perthshire.
Rice, who played for Ireland at under-16, under-17, under-19, under-21 and senior international level, may nevertheless end up sporting the dark blue of Scotland.
“We were a bit surprised to find out that Murdoch Rice, who played with great success as a centre-back for Dynamo Aberargy in the early 1970s, was in fact a distant relation to West Ham United’s Declan Rice,” reveals the source. “We contacted Murdoch, who confirmed the family tie, so we immediately sent a few Vibers to Declan himself, and he quickly expressed an interest. ‘Sure f*ck it, why not?’, I think he said.”
“I’ve heard something about Declan playing for England, but that can’t possibly be true – I mean, who’d want to earn all that money and go to all those major tournaments?,” continued the source. “Clearly, playing for Ireland just wasn’t for him, even though he did it for four years, which is roughly 20% of his entire life, but we reckon Scotland is a much more attractive proposition for the lad. After all, from 1876-92, we were number one on the Elo Rankings – that’s not to be sniffed at.”
Another source, this time from within the England camp, offers another theory as to why Rice may end up playing his home games at Hampden Park rather than Wembley.
“You may not know this, but Declan has been training with England recently,” says the source. “When he joined up with the lads, he saw he’d be playing alongside Jordan Henderson, Ross Barkley and Eric Dier and seemed to suddenly realise the drop in standard from an Ireland midfield that on occasion included Cyrus Christie and, going forward, a rejuvenated Glenn Whelan.
“I think he just expected something more, but with Whelan’s return concluded he may not get back into the Irish team. So Scotland could be perfect for him, because they’re shite.”
The Rebound understands that an archaic FIFA rule known as the “Glenmorangie Clause” may allow Rice to effectively cancel his recent declaration for England and join up with Alex McLeish’s side in time for the next round of qualifiers.
Watch this space.
The Rebound is Paddy Power’s weekly breaking news story that may not actually have happened or be real in any way.