Thursday Evening Sports Update

SOCCER

The international future of Declan Rice continues to lack definition.

The West Ham midfielder was again omitted from the Republic of Ireland squad named today, with Martin O’Neill claiming Rice still needs time to make up his mind.


Following the squad announcement, Sky reported that Rice was set to opt for the country of his birth – England.

O’Neill says he’d be surprised if the wheels had been set in motion for Rice’s international transfer.

Harry Arter has been named in the Ireland squad for this month’s Nations League games with Denmark and Wales.

The on-loan Cardiff midfielder sat out last month’s games following a row with assistant manager Roy Keane.

But O’Neill says the pair have had a conversation which has seen Arter return.

James McClean, Seani Maguire and Scott Hogan return after injury, while there’s a call-up for Rotherham’s on-loan midfielder Richie Towell.

Ryan Giggs has made two changes to his 25-man squad for games against Spain and the Republic of Ireland this month.

Despite missing Real Madrid’s Champions League match on Tuesday with injury, Gareth Bale is included.

But, Derby’s Joe Ledley and Tom Lockyer of Bristol Rovers miss out through injury.

Cardiff’s Jazz Richards and Leicester’s George Thomas, who’s on loan at Scunthorpe, are brought in.

Wales play Spain in a friendly next week, and then travel to Dublin for a Nations League clash on the 16th of October.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s been left out of the Portugal squad for the upcoming internationals against Poland and Scotland.

It’s reported Portugal’s record goalscorer made the request last week to sit these games out.

The Juventus forward’s decision comes as he fights rape allegations in the United States.

There’s another start for teenager Emile Smith Rowe for Arsenal this evening.

They’re away to Azeri champions Qarabag in Group E of the Europa League.

That kicks off at 5.55.

At the same time, Celtic kick off in Group B away to Red Bull Salzburg.

Also tonight Chelsea welcome Hungarian champions Vidi to Stamford Bridge.

Steven Gerrard’s Rangers are at home to Rapid Vienna.

GOLF

Paul McGinley and Padraig Harrington are best of the Irish on day 1 of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Both men are playing Kingsbarns, and both are 1-under par.

Australia’s Marcus Fraser holds the clubhouse lead – he’s 4-under par following a round of 68 at Carnoustie.

Shane Lowry is level following a 72 at Kingsbarns.