Declan Rice apologizes for pro-IRA comments on social media

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Ahead of his potential debut for the England national team on Friday, Declan Rice has had to apologize for his past comments on social media. 

Rice, 20, switched his allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England last month after his rise to stardom in the Premier League over the past 12 months.

The West Ham academy produce made three friendly appearances for the Ireland senior team, as well as playing for their U17 side, but was born in England and FIFA approved his switch to represent the Three Lions.

Rice has apologized for the comments he made on social media in 2015 in response to his Irish teammates as he responded “up the RA” which is short for the IRA and “Wait until we get England” on Instagram.

“I am aware that a poorly-expressed comment I made when I was a junior player has been circulated on social media,” Rice said. “I recognise now that my attempt to show support for my team-mates at the time could be negatively interpreted. While my naive words were not meant to be a political opinion and do not represent who I am, I sincerely apologize for any offence caused.”

Rice was called up to the England national team for the first time on Mar. 13 and is in line to play against the Czech Republic on Friday and against Montenegro next Monday in the Three Lions’ EURO 2020 qualifiers.