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West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice included in first England squad following Republic of Ireland defection

Wed, Mar 13 2019

Rice in action for Ireland under-21s against Norway last year. Credit: Laszlo Geczo (ETPhotos)

Declan Rice has been included in the squad for England’s European Championship qualifiers with the Czech Republic and Montenegro later this month after his transfer from Ireland was approved.

The London-born midfielder represented the Republic of Ireland all the way from under-16s to senior level, and made three senior appearances during 2018, before switching allegiance.

20-year-old Rice, who qualified for Ireland through his grandparents from Cork, announced his intention to change nationality to his country of birth last month.

The FAI opted not to contest his transfer and the paperwork was completed early this month, paving the way for Rice to receive his first call-up to Gareth Southgate’s squad.

On Monday, the FAI revealed that Rice would be honoured with the young player of the year award at the FAI International Awards on Sunday, but that Rice wouldn’t be present to receive it.

"His form warrants it,” said Southgate of Rice’s inclusion.

“We like what we've seen in terms of his personality, his character and his leadership qualities. He'll fit very well into how we work."

Rice is the only new face in a squad that also sees recalls for Burnley keeper Tom Heaton, following a lengthy injury lay-off, Danny Rose, James Tarkowski and Harry Maguire.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Harry Winks and Manchester United forward Jesse Lingard miss out due to injuries picked up in recent weeks.

England squad to face the Czech Republic and Montenegro:

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland, Tom Heaton, Jordan Pickford

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, Luke Shaw, John Stones, James Tarkowski, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker

Midfielders: Ross Barkley, Dele Alli, Fabian Delph, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Declan Rice

Forwards: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson