West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini believes everyone must respect Declan Rice’s decision over his international future.
The Hammers midfielder, 20, revealed his switch from the Republic of Ireland to England led to threats against him and his family in some vitriolic online abuse.
Rice represented the Irish team at youth level and went on to make three senior appearances before announcing his attention to switch to the country of his birth at the start of the year.
Having now established himself as part of Gareth Southgate’s set-up, earning a fifth cap for the Three Lions in the Euro 2020 qualifier against Kosovo, Irons’ boss Pellegrini feels it is time to move on.
“I think Declan delayed his decision and had a think and a talk with the people important to him so I don’t have any doubt that it was the right decision Declan took for his life,” he said at a press conference.
“Of course, not everybody is happy, but everyone has to respect him for that and he shouldn’t give them too much importance because it doesn’t matter what other people think.”
West Ham return to Premier League action away against Aston Villa on Monday night.
Pellegrini reported no fresh injury concerns following the international break and confirmed winger Michail Antonio has undergone surgery on a hamstring problem suffered during the Carabao Cup win at Newport.
“I hope that the surgery went well. The doctors are happy and now he needs time to recover,” Pellegrini said.
“I just spoke with him and he is without any pain, so everything is going in the correct way.”
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