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McClean ready to welcome Rice back to the Irish squad

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James McClean has declared he has no problems with welcoming Harry Arter and Declan Rice back into the Irish fold.

Cardiff midfielder Arter pulled out from last month’s squad after a heated spat with assistant boss Roy Keane, while Rice has yet to declare whether he will pursue his career with Ireland.

However, McClean admits that despite disagreeing with both players in the stance they have taken, the good of the Irish squad takes precedence over his personal beliefs.

You’d have to put a gun to my head for me not to come and play for Ireland,” said McClean, restored to the squad after breaking his wrist in training with the squad last month before the heavy Nations League defeat to Wales.

“Everyone is different. I don’t mind Harry as a person, but I’ll tell Harry myself, I thought it was wrong that he didn’t show up.

“I’ve no problem saying that to him, but I’m not going to hold it against him. That’s his issue.

“He’s here now, he’s a very good player, so to me, that’s water under the bridge. I felt he should have showed up the last time, but he’s here now, so let’s get on with it.”

McClean, who also strongly backed O’Neill to continue as manager, confirmed his stance on Rice’s eligibility quandary hasn’t changed either.

“Nothing changes for me with Declan. Like I said, I don’t agree with the situation. But I don’t have a problem with Declan as a person,” he added.

“I told Declan that myself. If he comes in, he’s a team-mate, he is here representing Ireland. I’ll welcome him 100 percent when he does come in if he does come in.