Declan Rice apologises for ‘Up the Ra’ Instagram comments

Declan Rice apologises for ‘Up the Ra’ Instagram comments

Marcus Rashford is the sixth player to have withdrawn from Gareth Southgate's England squad this week.

The incident has overshadowed Rice's first England call-up since making the decision to switch global allegiance from Republic of Ireland, but Southgate said it will not affect the 20-year-old's chances of featuring at Wembley.

The emergence of new talent, not least from the young England sides winning global tournaments, is a reason why Southgate wanted to remain with the team after the World Cup.

It should come as no surprise that Southgate dealt with the storm that erupted over some Twitter posts by a then 16-year-old Declan Rice as intelligently as he did.

Rice released a statement after the post, made when he was 15, resurfaced on social media.

Rice could make his debut for England against the Czech Republic at Wembley tomorrow after Federation Internationale de Football Association ratified his switch of worldwide allegiance from the Republic of Ireland earlier this month.

"I recognise now that my attempt to show support for my team-mates at the time could be negatively interpreted", Rice said on Instagram.

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"While my naïve words were not meant to be a political opinion and do not represent who I am, I sincerely apologise for any offence caused".

"I'll go and just make sure he knows that firstly, that he's OK and that he's supported", Southgate added. "I think any of us at that age, in those sorts of situations have probably said things, discussed things, written things, that might not look the way that'd we'd want (them to) several years later".

Hudson-Odoi's call-up in particular has raised eyebrows given that he is yet to start a Premier League match for Chelsea, but Southgate is adamant he can not allow age to be a barrier when selecting his England squad.

"It was really good playing for Ireland".

Asked what boxes Hudson-Odoi has ticked to convince him that he is ready to play for England, Southgate replied: "Ability and mentality". 'But, certainly, when you were looking at what the next few years could look like, and you knew that the team who had won the Under 20s World Cup and the team who had won the 17s and the 19s Euros, there were some really exciting players.

"I can't wait for clubs to pick players 50, 100 times - that's not the landscape we're operating in".

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