Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy says Declan Rice has the quality to be the national team’s captain and has promised to build the team around the teenager.
Rice has already received his Republic of Ireland cap under former boss Martin O’Neill, but the 19-year-old is still considering whether he wants to play for England instead.
McCarthy revealed that he has spoken with the player and wants to make him an integral part of the Republic of Ireland team.
“I had a really good meeting with him,” McCarthy told Sky Sports.
“There was myself, [assistant manager] Robbie [Keane], Declan and his dad and it is just up to him what he wants to decide – that’s how I’ve left it.
“It’s not my decision as to whether he plays for the Republic of Ireland, it’s my job – if he decides that he wants to stay with us – to pick him.
“I think he’s a really talented player. I thought he was a lovely lad, he’s got a really nice family behind him and he has everything about him that makes you want him to play for you. That’s still my case, I want him to play for us.
“I’d love to build a team around him. We start in March and that’s my deadline I guess, I need to know by then.
“I’d like to build a team around him and he could be a future captain – he’s that type of player.”