Gareth Southgate responds to Declan Rice's pro-IRA comments

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West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has been forced to apologise for posting "Up the Ra" in social media posts dating back to 2015.

London-born Rice picked up three senior caps for the Republic in friendlies against Turkey, France and US in 2018 but dropped out of their squad last Autumn ahead of a series of competitive fixtures in the newly-formed UEFA Nations League.

And he has now been caught up in a fresh storm after appearing to throw his support behind the IRA.

"So I don't think he can do or say any more than he's said at this point in time".

The 20-year-old also said his "naive words were not meant to be a political opinion and do not represent who I am".

Rice played for Republic of Ireland at youth level and made three senior appearances before switching his allegiance to England - the country of his birth - earlier this year.

Southgate and his employers at The Football Association have spoken out against England fans chanting anti-IRA songs in recent months, with this incident certain to be a source of embarrassment after Rice's first call-up to the England squad this month.

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'Wouldn't change anything about it. And we ended up topping the group, only conceding one goal.

"I was just bursting with pride". Love Ireland. Proud of where I'm from #EIRE'.

The FA had already confirmed that Rice would not face any punishment, but the governing body has written to the 20-year-old to remind him of his responsibilities.

Rice's switch to England has been highly controversial.

Speaking to the media yesterday, he said: "As you can hear, I am English". I am from England.

Rice is now with the England senior squad as they prepare to begin their Euro 2020 qualification against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

"Now I'm just really looking forward to the future and pulling on the England shirt".

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