Rice ready for England call-up after committing to Three Lions

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The 20-year-old pledged his international allegiance to England last month and he feels ready to join up with Gareth Southgate's squad

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has no doubt he is ready to play for England following his decision to switch international allegiance from the Republic of Ireland.

The 20-year-old was born in London but played for Ireland – the country of his grandparents – from the Under-16 side upwards, making three senior appearances in friendly matches.

Rice confirmed last month that he intends to represent England in future, announcing his decision after deliberating for some months, consulting England boss Gareth Southgate, former Ireland manager Martin O'Neill and his successor Mick McCarthy in the process.

The midfielder has earned rave reviews this season, cementing his place in the West Ham team and winning the Young Player of the Year Award at the London Football Awards on Thursday.

His next aim is to earn a first international cap for England.

When asked at the London Football Awards if he is ready for that step, Rice told Omnisport: "Without a doubt.

"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 the paperwork goes through as well. I believe it's with FIFA at the moment, so I'm just hoping that gets through in time, and in the matches between now and the March call-ups I can do enough to maybe get in the squad."

Being able to select Rice will give England added versatility, as the central midfielder is no stranger to featuring at centre-back.

However, looking at the long-term, he is hoping to establish himself as a midfielder.

"There's a lot of speculation at the moment, people saying: 'Is he going to be a centre-back or midfielder?'," he added. 

"Personally, I want to play in midfield. I've played the last 25 games there. I don't see myself going back to centre-back any time soon.

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"It's helpful I can play at centre half and that's going to help out in the long run, but I want to see my future in midfield, try and master that position and get better at that."

Rice will be back in Premier League action with West Ham this Saturday, as the Hammers host Newcastle United at the London Stadium.

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