Gary Lineker couldn't resist a few Declan Rice jokes after his West Ham heroics 3 years ago

Gary Lineker couldn't resist a few Declan Rice jokes after his West Ham heroics

He simply couldn't resist

On Match of the Day on Saturday Gary Lineker joked that he surely would have been eligible for the Irish national team back in the 1980s due to the fact that his father went fishing in Ireland "every year for 50 years".


"In Big Jack (Charlton's) time that would've qualified me," he zinged, clearly alluding to the Irish/definitely not-Irish Ireland striker Tony Cascarino, who won 88 caps over 14 years for the boys in green despite having no tangible links to the country.

Not long after West Ham's Declan Rice slotted his side into the lead against Arsenal, the former England striker logged onto his Twitter account and, not unlike his father, did a little fishing of his own.

"Good finish from Declan Rice. Yet another fabulous young English prospect," he said, adding a laughing emoji to boot.


That drew in over 400 responses and many of them were from Irish football fans that took the bait.

Rice, of course, is English-born of Irish parentage and has three international caps for Ireland. None of those games were in competitive fixtures so the young Hammers star is still entitled to switch allegiance to England if he so chooses.


Both Gareth Southgate and Mick McCarthy are doing their utmost to convince the teenager - who was left on the bench for competitive matches by former Ireland coach Martin O'Neill - that his future lies, respectively, in white or green.

Lineker was happy to stoke the embers of a long-running tug-of-war for the services of Rice and, after telling one follower that he was being ironic, made the 'Big Jack' remark.


Later, on Match of the Day, Rice came in for plenty of praise from pundits Ian Wright and Jermaine Jenas. Before they could get too effusive, Lineker made another gag, saying "So, he'll play a lot of games for England, won't he?!"

As Lineker sat back, pleased with his question, Wright diplomatically answered, "Well I'm just glad to see a young English player get an opportunity, in the Premier League."

Rice has been in contact with both McCarthy and Southgate and says he will make a decision on his international future "soon".

Whatever way it goes, the jokes won't go away any time soon.