Former Republic of Ireland international Kevin Kilbane has said he would rather miss out on qualifying for a major tournament than have a player who needs to think about whether or not he represents Ireland.

Martin O‘Neill revealed this morning that Rice has been omitted from the latest Republic of Ireland squad as manager Martin O‘Neill admits the West Ham defender is still deliberating over switching allegiances to England.

London-born Rice has three senior caps for the Republic but they all came in friendly matches, meaning the 19-year-old could yet decide to represent England instead.

Speaking after announcing his squad for the upcoming UEFA Nations League clash with Wales and a friendly against Poland, O‘Neill explained Rice‘s absence.

“He (Rice) is still deliberating,” he said.

“He is a young man. England have spoken to him. He is taking time to make his mind up. He has done brilliantly for us. I‘m giving him a little bit of time.”

Kilbane took to Twitter to voice his displeasure at the 19-year-old‘s decision to mull over his options.

He wrote: “I’d rather be ranked 150th in the world and never qualify again than have someone who has played, but needs time to THINK whether they should play for us again. Well done to MON for transparency.”

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Online Editors