West Ham United midfield sensation Declan Rice has chosen to represent England at international level despite already playing some friendly games for the Republic of Ireland.
The 20-year-old has been in explosive form for club since last term, and both countries were keen to secure his allegiance.
The Three Lions won the race in the end, and manager Gareth Southgate reportedly wants to hand Rice a call-up for next month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro.
Former Newcastle United striker Alan Shearer has weighed in on the youngster’s decision to pledge his international future to England.
“It was great for England because I think he’s a very promising young player and I think he’ll have a very good future in the game. I don’t necessarily agree with the rule, although it has benefited England on this occasion. I know he’s played in three friendlies for Ireland, played in all youth teams over the years for Ireland. I think once you’ve played, I don’t necessarily agree that you can change your mind and go on a play for another country, but I know that they were just friendly games,” the EPL legend told Coral.
“I understand how the Irish will feel, be very disappointed and rightly so, but this is a decision that will benefit England because he seems to be getting better and better. Playing in that sitting midfielder role, Eric Dier isn’t playing on a regular basis, so I’d be really surprised if he’s not in that next England squad
“He’s getting better and better, without doubt the ability is there, really really promising youngster and he’s put in some good very performances for West Ham.”
He's chosen England!
— Coral (@Coral) February 16, 2019
Rice has featured in 23 league games for Manuel Pellegrini’s side this term, and has been one of the Hammers’ most consistent and best players.
Given how Tottenham’s Eric Dier has struggled to hold down a starting berth of recent under Mauricio Pochettino, his place with the national side could be under huge threat given the rate with which the West Ham youngster has continued to improve.
Rice has a big future ahead of him, and it will be interesting to see how things go for him on the international level after the Ireland snub.