England midfielder Declan Rice has spoken about the abuse he received after completing a switch from representing the Republic of Ireland internationally to England.
The 20-year-old represented the Republic of Ireland at the youth level and made three friendly appearances for the senior international squad, but was never cap tied. He decided in February to complete the FIFA-sanctioned one time switch to England, the country of his birth, and has made four international caps all in competitive matches.
That sparked a host of social media abuse for an alleged breach of loyalty.
“I’ve had people saying they’re going to come to my house,” he said to ITV News. “You click on their profile and they’d just be a fake profile, so you don’t know whether it’s true or not.”
“Thinking about it, I was never actually scared about it, because always fans are going to be giving me abuse and whatnot over it. You just kind of look at it and laugh, you think, ‘Yeah, all right, as if you’re going to come and do that type of thing’.”
Rice is one of many England stars who have complained of social media abuse over the past year, including racial abuse of Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, and Danny Rose. According to the BBC, Twitter took action on over 700 instances of “hateful conduct” in the two weeks leading up to England’s Euro qualification game against Bulgaria. Rice played in the Bulgaria match and completed the full 90 minutes, contributing to a 4-0 win for England.