Mick McCarthy adamant Declan Rice should not have won FAI Young Player of the Year award 2 months ago

Mick McCarthy adamant Declan Rice should not have won FAI Young Player of the Year award

"I wouldn't have given it to him"

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has said that he would not have given Declan Rice the FAI Young Player of the Year award, insisting that it should have gone to someone "who would appreciate it".

On Tuesday, it was announced that Rice had won the award and less than 24 hours later, he was named in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers.

The West Ham United midfielder played three senior games for Ireland in 2018 and was the team's best player in each outing. So, he was undoubtedly the best young Ireland player last year.

However, as he is no longer an Ireland player, many in the country felt he should not be given the award and it should have been handed out to another player.

The award was voted for by members of the SSE Airtricity Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland. An FAI statement on the decision said that to give it to another player would have gone against the integrity of the voting process.


The Republic of Ireland manager, speaking in Dublin on Thursday as the association launched a commercial partnership with SportPesa, defended the FAI's role in the award process.

Despite this, McCarthy said that the award should have gone to someone else, and if they couldn't find someone else, it should not have been awarded to any player.

“I said, ‘don’t give it to him’," McCarthy told reporters in Dublin. "I said, ‘give it to someone who deserves it', and then I stopped. I said, ‘no, that’s unfair'. Because quite clearly he did deserve it, he won it because of his performances.

"I said, ‘give it to somebody who would appreciate it’. Not somebody who is going to be embarrassed by it or (for others to use it as) another stick to beat the FAI with.

“Because it's the journalists' award, and I just said it to them, ‘you all wanted to protect the integrity of the award’, which they gave to him in good faith. It’s not the FAI award, it’s been given by the journalists.

“And then, they all insisted they give it and then there’s a shit storm and it’s the FAI that’s getting it. Well, I don’t think that’s right, in any shape or form.

"No, I wouldn't have given it to him. And if they couldn’t give it to anybody else because he won it, don’t give it to anybody. Chuck it in the Liffey!"

Well, at least we know where Mick stands on the issue.