West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has revealed how his family was threatened on social media by people warning him they’re “going to come to his house”.
Rice, born in London with Irish grandparents, decided to play for England earlier this year after previously appearing for Ireland.
The move was controversial for some and prompted social media users to abuse Rice online, who has since won four caps for England.
Ahead of England's game against Kosovo, live on ITV at 7.45pm on Tuesday night, Rice spoke to ITV News.
“Yeah I’ve had a few bad bits, I’ve had people saying they’re going to come to my house... yeah online,” he told ITV News when asked about social media abuse.
“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.
“They’re just like, you click on their profile and they’d just be like a fake profile so [you] don’t know whether it’s true or not."
He added he never feared any threats would be followed up.
Rice said it was difficult for his parents, who were more worried about him than anyone else, but he remained "focused" and took “no notice of it”.
The midfielder's comments come after Gary Neville said he should not be allowed to play for England due to his previous appearances for Ireland.
Neville, who was England’s assistant manager for four years, said it “didn’t feel right” to see Rice switch teams.
But Rice brushed off the comments, citing his form in the Premier League last year as evidence he doesn’t let comments about him affect his on-pitch performance.
“It hasn’t been difficult at all, everyone has obviously got an opinion on things but you know what? I really don’t listen to any of it,” he told ITV News.
“Obviously, what Gary Neville said as well, he can have that opinion if he wants and I can’t change that but now I am playing for England, you know I’m going to do everything I can to play the best I can for this country.”
He did, however, speak out against fake profiles on social media, calling the ongoing racist abuse in football “outrageous”.
“There’s someone behind it but they’re using a fake profile and they’re still getting caught out,” he told ITV News.
“We’re in 2019 and it’s happening week in week out, it’s not good enough, we need to stamp our authority better.”