Rice apologises for pro-IRA social media comments
West Ham's Declan Rice has apologised for historic pro-Irish Republican Army (IRA) posts he made on social media in 2015.
Rice played for Republic of Ireland at youth level and made three senior appearances before switching his allegiance to England – the country of his birth – earlier this year.
The midfielder is in line for his England debut over the next week, but in the last few days comments he made four years ago have resurfaced.
In the posts, Rice wrote "up the RA", a phrase used to support the IRA, a paramilitary organisation which sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland.
Rice has now apologised for his comments, accepting they came from a place of naivety.
On his official Instagram account, Rice wrote: "I am aware that a poorly expressed comment I made when I was a junior player has been circulated on social media.
"I recognise now that my attempt to show support for my team-mates at the time could be negatively interpreted.
"While my naïve words were not meant to be a political opinion and do not represent who I am, I sincerely apologise for any offence caused."