West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice has chosen to represent England at international level despite having already played for the Republic of Ireland.
— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) February 13, 2019
Under FIFA rules, a player is allowed to switch his allegiance and represent another country at senior international level provided that he hasn’t already featured competitively for another.
Rice has already made three appearances for Ireland, but all came in friendly games Turkey, France and USA last year, just shortly after he made his West Ham debut.
Arsenal legend Ian Wright has since leapt to the defence of the 20-year-old, and here is how he reacted to the new on Twitter.
"Based on what I believe is best for my future". That's all that matters @_DeclanRice! I know some of my Irish friends are hurting but you just do you. Love and maximum respect. https://t.co/o7xJmG5TT6
— Ian Wright (@IanWright0) February 13, 2019
Rice has been a sensation since breaking into the Hammers first-team last season, and has already established himself as a regular, featuring in 59 games across all competitions.
The versatile youngster can also feature in defence having played regularly in the position during his formative years with the London club, but it’s in defensive midfield that he is expected to play in for the Three Lions.
According to Sportsmail, England manager Gareth Southgate will give serious consideration to drafting Rice into next month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers squad against Czech Republic and Montenegro provided his registration is finalised, and should the Hammers youngster keep improving at this rate, he could be the midfield anchor for the Three Lions for many years.