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Awkward! England's Declan Rice wins Ireland's Young Player of the Year award

5:48 am AEDT 13/3/19
Declan Rice West Ham England Ireland
The West Ham midfielder has switched international allegiance to the Three Lions, but topped a poll recognising Irish talent

In a rather unfortunate turn of events, Declan Rice has been named FAI Young Player of the Year despite having switched international allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England.

The West Ham midfielder spent several months weighing up his options before eventually committing to the Three Lions.

That decision was made in February, with the 20-year-old having previously won three senior caps for Ireland.

With those outings having come in non-competitive fixtures, Rice was able to keep the door open to England.

He is being tipped to be named in Gareth Southgate’s latest squad for upcoming games against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

It could be that he makes the cut a matter of hours after landing a prestigious prize with Ireland.

The FAI revealed on Tuesday in a statement regarding a recent awards poll: “The Football Association of Ireland can confirm that West Ham United's Declan Rice has won the Young Player Of the Year award at the 29th '3' FAI International Awards taking place on Sunday, March 17

“The award was voted for by members of the SSE Airtricity Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland.

“At the time of the vote, Declan Rice was an Ireland international and qualified for the Young Player category in a year that saw him win three senior caps, all in '3' International Friendly games.

“Declan Rice has since opted to switch his allegiance to England. The FAI has completed his international transfer via the FIFA protocols and wishes him well in the future.

“This award maintains the integrity of the voting process in conjunction with the Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland and the FAI thanks the jury members for their decisions relating to the awards.

“Declan Rice will not be in Dublin for the '3' FAI International Awards ceremony.”

Rice will not attend the awards ceremony after seeing his decision to commit to England cause much controversy.

He is, however, convinced that he has made the right decision for his career.

Rice has said: "I played three games for Ireland at international level. I made the switch to England, nothing's guaranteed because there are some unbelievable players in the England set-up.

"I've got to be hopeful that I can do enough to maybe get in the squad."