International rules not helping anyone – Townsend

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Andy Townsend says the rules on switching international allegiances are 'wrong' following Declan Rice's England decision.

Andy Townsend says the rules on switching international allegiances are ‘wrong’ following Declan Rice’s England decision.

Despite playing three friendlies for the Republic of Ireland’s senior team, West Ham United midfielder Rice confirmed on Wednesday that he has chosen to represent England instead of the ROI.

The current rules state a player, if eligible, can change his international allegiances if they haven’t yet played a competitive game for a country.

Former midfielder Townsend, who was capped 70 times by Ireland, believes the system in place at the moment is not right and needs to be changed before more people decide to do what Rice did.

‘I think the rules are wrong and they don’t do anyone any favours,’ he told BBC Radio 5 live.

‘I do understand that, for many reasons, playing for England would be more significant than playing for Ireland but I think once you have made the decision to play for a team, that should be it and you should get on with it.

‘ Ex-Irish midfielder Kevin Kilbane also spoke about Rice’s choice, telling Virgin Media Sport: ‘I’m disappointed it has taken so long for this decision to be made and the announcement to come about.

As soon as he turned the call down last September it was done for me, I wouldn’t have picked him again after that.

‘By turning the call down and actually taking three caps it was a bit of a slap in the face for a number of young international footballers.’

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