Republic of Ireland captain Seamus Coleman said he believes there's no reason why Declan Rice can't feel partly English while representing Ireland proudly and insisted the squad would welcome him back with open arms. 

The West Ham defender made three appearances for Ireland in friendlies this summer but ruled himself out of consideration for this week's Nations Cup opener, amid suggestions that he was contemplating a switch of allegiance to England.   

The news that Rice was now deliberating his international future prompted a range of responses with former Ireland international Kevin Kilbane saying he would rather the team never qualified for a major tournament than play someone who was unsure about whether he wished to represent the country.

But Coleman argued it wasn't that straightforward, acknowledging that Rice was born in England, could feel English in some sense, but also represent Ireland. 

"In an ideal world, we'd have all the players here playing for us," Coleman said at today's press conference on the eve of the Nations Cup tie with Wales.   

"Some people back home might not like to hear it. He's a 19-year-old boy that was born in England but that's no reason he can't be a proud Irishman.

"I saw him after the Turkey game when he got Man of the Match and I saw him embrace his father in the tunnel. That's not for show, that's genuine. He was genuinely proud to play in the games that he did. 

"In an ideal world, we'll get him back. But it's not straightforward as 'you know what you are', which I've heard a few people say.  

"The young lad was born in England. There's no reason why he can't feel some part English and also be very proud to play for Ireland, which I know he is. 

"So, on that situation, and fingers crossed, we'll welcome back Declan with open arms whatever he decides."