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Wolves’ Connor Ronan: Why I won’t be following Declan Rice

Young Wolves winger Connor Ronan insists he won’t be following Declan Rice and swapping Ireland for England.

The 21-year-old, currently on loan in Slovakia, earned the man-of-the-match award playing for Ireland Under-21s after supplying assists for two of the goals in Sunday’s 3-0 victory over Luxembourg.

There are concerns in Ireland that dual-eligible players could favour England over Ireland after West Ham midfielder Rice, who was recently named as their young player of the year, chose to join the Three Lions.

Rice was born and raised in Surrey but was capped three times by Ireland as a full international after qualifying through his paternal grandparents from Cork.

Rochdale-born Ronan has similar qualification; his granddad is from Kilkenny and grandmother is from Galway, both on his father’s side.

Ronan has played for England at Under-17s level in a friendly but they haven’t approached him since and he says he’s committed to Ireland now.

England hadn’t shown any interest in me until I’d been called into my first Ireland squad,” said the winger.

When the Wolves Academy manager informed me of their interest, I wanted to try out both countries.

I got a feel for the England set-up, but I settled into the Ireland camp from the second I came in.

I met up with a great set of lads and everything just went right. It was an easy decision.”

Asked whether England had approached him since, Ronan said: “No, I’m happy with Ireland. Mt grandparents watched the Luxembourg game at home. It’s hard for them to get over with their age, but they’re always keeping an eye on things.

Every time I put that green shirt on, they’re always in the back of my mind.

I had family back in England watching the game and some came over to watch, too.

The support for me to play for Ireland has been massive. Long may it continue.”

Wolves gave Ronan his Championship debut when he was 18 under Paul Lambert in December 2016, and he has made 13 senior appearances for them in total, six under Lambert in 2016-17 and seven under Nuno Espirito Santo last season.

After struggling for game time at Molineux, he played 17 games on loan at Portsmouth last season and had 15 at Walsall in the first half of this term.

The move to FC DAC 1904 has worked well for the midfielder, after a couple of disappointing stints away from Molineux and Ireland Under-21s coach Stephen Kenny has praised Ronan for creating his own pathway in the game.

My previous loans didn’t go that well, because there wasn’t much time to look into their style before accepting the moves,” he said.

I had a bit more time on this occasion and could see the team would suit me.

Once I knew how they played, from watching videos and chatting to Wolves’ staff who had been over there, my mind was made up.

It’s a small town, situated about an hour into Bratislava, an hour-and-a-half into Vienna and two hours from Budapest.

I brought my car over there and I’m hoping to get about and try to see a few places, before I leave in the summer.”