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Ireland never an option for Rooney

Playing for Republic of Ireland was never considered by England star Wayne Rooney, who could have represented the nation through his grandparents.

Rooney has Irish roots and received an offer to pledge his allegiance to Republic of Ireland in 2001.

However, the 29-year-old, who will earn his 104th cap when England travel to Dublin for an international friendly on Sunday, said his heart was always with England.

“I am English through and through and I have no issue with trying to beat Ireland,” Rooney said.

“I am playing for England and I want to help England win.”

Rooney added: “Lee Carsley asked me [on behalf of Republic boss Mick McCarthy] about it and it never crossed my mind.

“I have Irish grandparents, so if they wanted to play for Ireland I’m sure they could have, but it was never something I thought about.

“I was born in England, I’m English.”

Both nations are again rivals for a talented youngster, with Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish considering his options having been born in England, while his paternal grandparents are Irish.

Grealish has represented Republic of Ireland at various youth levels but his breakthrough into Villa’s first team in 2014-15 has seen England work to secure his allegiance.  

Sun 7 Jun, 2015
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