Ireland's Horgan understands Rice's England switch but seeks stricter rules

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Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic
Scottish Premiership - Hibernian v Celtic

(Reuters) - Ireland winger Daryl Horgan has questioned the international eligibility rules that allow players to switch allegiances but said he has no hard feelings towards former team mate Declan Rice, who has opted to play for England.

West Ham United's Rice was capped three times by Ireland and played twice alongside Horgan in 2018, before the English-born midfielder's switch was approved by global soccer body FIFA as all his international appearances were in friendlies.

Horgan could face Rice when England take on Ireland in a friendly at Wembley on Thursday.

"I wouldn't hold it against him. We all know how good a player he is. He's a very talented guy," Horgan was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"It's one of those - he should never have been in that position in the first place. There should be stricter rules so that if you play a friendly, then that's that.

"But the position presented itself, he was born in England, has lived in England all his life. I can understand it. He's a young guy and he probably felt the option would never be there so it presented itself and he made the decision."

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish and defender Michael Keane both played for Ireland's youth teams before committing their future to England and could also feature on Thursday.

Ireland, who are seeking a first victory over England since 1988, said on Tuesday that a member of their squad had tested positive for COVID-19 and was self-isolating.

After the Ireland clash, England have Nations League A Group 2 games against Belgium on Nov. 15 and Iceland on Nov. 18.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)