Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill says he takes nothing for granted as regards Declan Rice's international future.

The West Ham defender has earned three caps for Ireland in friendlies this year, featuring in the away defeats against Turkey and France and the 2-1 home win over the United States.  

The player has always been adamant that he wants to play for the Republic of Ireland but his future won't be definitively nailed down until he's capped in a competitive game. 

Speaking to RTÉ Sport's Tony O'Donoghue, O'Neill said that the question of Rice's international future would be up to the player himself but stresses how keenly the Irish management have made clear they want him. 

"I never take anything for granted at all. We want him (Rice) to play for us. The choice will be his.

"Absolutely, he's committed. We want that and we have encouraged it to the nth degree. 

"He knows he's wanted badly by us and I think he's really enjoyed playing for us. 

"If he is capped in the Wales game, then he will be playing for us for the rest of his time. That's a decision that will be for him and his family."

Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish had famously been touted as a future Irish international before switching his allegiance to England shortly after his 20th birthday.

Memories of that switch of allegiance have made some observers jittery that other Irish youth players might do likewise. But O'Neill remains philosophical about the player's decision while noting that he hasn't yet been capped by England. 

"Jack Grealish decided to play for England. We did our best to try and persuade him to play senior international football for us. He was born in England. Something that's often lost in this is that his father was also born in England.

"Between the two of them, they wanted to go for England. That's fine. That was entirely their choice. 

"It's nice to see that he's started to play well again after a really indifferent spell for quite some considerable time through both form and injury. But, you know, he still has to be capped for England yet at this moment." 

Rice endured a difficult opening to the 2018-19 Premier League season, being taken off at half-time in the 4-0 loss to Liverpool at Anfield before being dropped for the 2-1 home loss to Bournemouth the following week.  

"This is just a part of growing up and trying to make your way in the game," says O'Neill. "I actually spoke to him. Pellegrini will probably still be mulling over what his best team might be at the moment. He (Rice) should take it as a compliment that he was in the starting line-up against Liverpool rather than being left out of the squad the following week against Bournemouth.

"As a young player, you think that because some great things have happened to you early on that it's going to be like that for the rest of your time. I'm sorry, you do get a wake-up call now and then."