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declan rice

Why there’s no need to lose the head over Declan Rice’s IRA post

It’s a big week for Declan Rice, who could be in line to make his England debut after switching allegiance from Ireland, but controversy was stirred when a dormant social media post of his emerged this week. 

The post itself was to the effect of “UP THE RA – Wait ’til we draw England” with some added emojis, and was posted back in 2015, the year the West Ham midfielder would have turned 16 years old. And still a part of the Ireland youth setup.

The timing was obviously less than perfect for the young footballer, who apologised for his “naive words” this week, adding that it does “not represent who I am”.

England manager Gareth Southgate defended the player in the aftermath of the furore, pointing to the fact that he was still a child when the comment was made.

Aside from Rice’s age, it is worth pointing out that Irish slogans such as “up the RA” and “Brits Out” have become, for all intents and purposes, memes, at least in online spaces among Irish people, as explained really well by Paulie Doyle on Vice’s website.

It should be obvious to anyone that Rice was not declaring quite literal support for a paramilitary organisation, but likely trying to fit in with his mates in the Ireland team, or chums as he’d probably call them now.

Still, not everyone reacted well to his four-year-old comment.

Rice did have his defenders mind, who were willing to forgive the player for his mistake. 

Unsurprisingly it became an instant meme in itself, as droves of Twitter users dove in to take the opportunity to poke fun at the midfielder, who was capped three times for the Republic of Ireland at senior level. 

Of course, this would have to happen the same week as Alan Partridge’s Martin Brennan skit. That’s what you call comedic timing. 

Read: The painful lessons Ireland must learn from the Declan Rice fiasco

See Also: Young Lions: The rising stars at the heart of England’s future