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Rice set for first England call-up as Southgate prepares to name his latest squad

14:12 GMT+4 13/03/2019
Declan Rice West Ham 2018-19
The West Ham midfielder switched allegiances from Republic of Ireland to the Three Lions in February and could debut against Czech Republic

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is set to earn a maiden England call-up as Gareth Southgate prepares to name his first squad of 2019.

The Three Lions begin their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium on March 22 before travelling to Montenegro three days later.

And Rice, who previously represented Republic of Ireland in three friendly encounters before declaring himself for England in February, is reportedly set to be rewarded for a stellar campaign with the Irons.

The 20-year-old has made 31 appearances in all competitions for Manuel Pellegrini's side this season, scoring two goals in victories over Arsenal and Newcastle.

Others who have been tipped for call-ups having missed out in the final months of 2018 include Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton and Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse.

Heaton earned a recall to the Clarets team after over a year on the sidelines in December, with his introduction back into the fold coinciding with Sean Dyche's side producing an eight-match unbeaten run in the Premier League.

The former Manchester United trainee has previously won three caps for his country, and his form for the Turf Moor outfit combined with some questionable performances from Jordan Pickford at Everton has led to some suggesting Heaton could even start later this month.

Pickford has struggled for consistency in the weeks following his calamitous error that led to Divock Origi's winning goal in the Toffees' Merseyside Derby defeat to Liverpool at Anfield and was particularly erratic during Saturday's loss to Newcastle.

Ward-Prowse, meanwhile, has enjoyed a renaissance at St Mary's under Ralph Hasenhuttl and could be set to add to his sole senior international cap later this month.

The 24-year-old has scored six Premier League goals since the turn of the year, including three in the Saints' last three matches as Hasenhuttl looks to plot a route towards survival from relegation.

Elsewhere, Southgate should be able to select from an almost full field of players, with only Liverpool defender Joe Gomez of his regular selections certain to miss out with injury.

Jesse Lingard has not played for Manchester United since their 0-0 draw with Liverpool in late February but has been pictured in training with the Red Devils while Dele Alli returned to action for the first time in seven weeks for Tottenham in their defeat to Southampton on Saturday.

Spurs duo Harry Winks and Kieran Trippier, however, are doubts having missed that clash at St Mary's, with neither having travelled to Barcelona with Mauricio Pocettino's squad for a warm-weather training camp as they nurse minor injuries.