'We need to protect how sp...

'We need to protect how special international football is'

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After a week in the headlines - this side of the Irish Sea at least - Declan Rice had to settle for the role of spectator, as his West Ham side fell to a fourth defeat from four in the Premier League.

Former Republic of Ireland International Gary Breen was on duty for Premier League Live with Sky Sports on Today Fm yesterday, speaking to Philip Egan about the news that Rice was taking time out to consider his international future.

Rice has played three times for Martin O'Neill's side, but is still eligible to switch allegiance to England, the country of his birth.

Despite also being born in England, Breen says his situation is much different to that of Rice, as he never felt he had to make a decision on who to represent.

And after spending a few days digesting the intricacies of Rice's decision, his anger has deflected towards the system, rather than the player.

Currently dual nationality players are only tied down to an international side after making a competitive appearance, rather than friendlies, which Breen says is s "disgrace", and damaging to the international game.

"I don't necessarily look at Declan. I think it's problem that we have that players are able to make a career choice when we need to protect how special international football is."

"It's a very personal decision, and I wouldn't judge anyone for it. But the problem I have, and I will never get away from this; you cannot swap and change, it's a disgrace.

"I'll ask you, as a supporter. Do you not want to think that while I'm watching that 11 out there running around for Ireland, that it means as much to them as it did to you as a young man, and dreaming of playing for Ireland.

"I want to look at that Ireland team and think, 'when you were a young boy dreaming, watching your heroes, that it meant everything to play for Ireland', and this just devalues it." 

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