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Arsene Wenger pays tribute to former Northern Ireland star Pat Rice on MBE award

MBE HONOUR: Former Northern Ireland international Pat Rice
Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

MBE HONOUR: Former Northern Ireland international Pat Rice Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Former Northern Ireland international Pat Rice has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours.

Rice – who earned 49 caps with Northern Ireland – also made more than 400 appearances for Arsenal, helping the club win their first league and FA Cup double in 1970-71.

Following his retirement from playing after a spell at Watford in 1984, Rice became a coach with the Gunners and then assistant to Wenger when he was appointed manager in 1996.

Rice, 63, played a part in two more doubles and the unbeaten league season of 2003-04 before announcing his retirement at the end of last season 48 years after first joining Arsenal.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger paid tribute to former assistant Rice as “someone you could go to war with”.

Wenger said: “I am absolutely delighted because if someone deserves it, it’s certainly Pat Rice.

“He had 100 per cent genuine commitment every day and you respect that when you see that from somebody, and he is someone you could go to war with.”

Rice greeted the news with shock and joy, saying: “I’m delighted and honoured to be receiving an MBE. The news of the award came as a complete surprise and I’m just so flattered to be included in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.

“Football and Arsenal have been my life and I have so many fantastic memories during my career.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me throughout my career, and importantly, a special thank you to all my family, who have always been there for me and supported me throughout my career.”

 

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