England midfielder Declan Rice has revealed threats have been made against him and his family since he switched allegiance from the Republic of Ireland in February.
Rice won three senior caps in friendly matches for Ireland before the West Ham star announced at the start of this year he would switch to the country of his birth.
The 20-year-old has quickly become an important part of Gareth Southgate’s squad since his controversial decision after representing Ireland at four different age levels.
He earned his fourth England cap in Saturday’s 4-0 victory over Bulgaria, but the change of nationality did not go down well with some Irish fans, leading to vitriolic online abuse.
“Yeah, I’ve had a few bad bits,” Rice told ITV News when asked about social media attacks.
“I’ve had people saying they’re going to come to my house… Yeah online. There’s a few bits I could go into, but I don’t need to go into it, threats to my family, threats to me.
“You click on their profile and they’d just be a fake profile, so you don’t know whether it’s true or not.
“But do you know what? I know, thinking about it now, I was never actually scared about it, because fans are always going to be giving me abuse and whatnot over it.
“You just kind of look at it and laugh, you think, ‘Yeah, all right, as if you’re going to come and do that type of thing’.”
Rice, whose grand-parents come from County Cork in Ireland, admitted it was harder for his family to deal with the abuse than it was for him.
“It was tough, there has been some abuse, it was more for my mum and dad really,” he said.
“They were more worried about me than anyone else, I was always quite strong minded.
“My mum, obviously with me being her youngest, she was always a bit worried. Other than that, I don’t take any notice of it. I just try to keep focused.”
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