West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has taken to social media to apologize after statements posted by him as a youngster in support of the IRA were highlighted ahead of his England debut.
London-born Rice won three international caps for the Republic of Ireland during friendlies, but switched allegiance last month and declared himself eligible to play for England instead.
And Rice’s form for the Hammers prompted England boss Gareth Southgate to add the 20-year-old to his squad for the team’s upcoming game against the Czech Republic.
Previous comments posted on Instagram saw Rice – then an Irish international – state support for the Irish Republican Army, more widely known as the IRA.
Posts stating “UP THE RA” and “#UPTHERA” were made as he issued messages of support for his Ireland Under-17s teammates back in 2015.
But after those comments resurfaced on the eve of his potential debut for the Three Lions, Rice took to Instagram and posted a statement to apologize.
“I am aware that a poorly-expressed comment I made when I was a junior player has been circulated on social media,” it began.
“I recognize now that my attempt to show support for my teammates 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 offense caused.”