West Ham star Rice confirms he will represent England instead of Ireland

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The 20-year-old has committed his future to the Three Lions, despite having come up through the Irish system

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has announced he will continue his international career with England, after having previously played with Ireland.

The news is a blow to the Irish and a coup for the Three Lions, with the 20-year-old having established himself as one of the top central midfield prospects in the Premier League. 

"Declan rang me today and said he has decided to give it a go with England. Good luck to him." Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy said in a brief statement.

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Rice was born and raised in London, but played for Ireland from the U-16 level all the way through the senior team, his eligibility coming from his Irish-born grandparents. 

The midfielder made his senior Ireland debut in March 2018, and went on to earn two more caps before taking a break from international football to consider his future.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Rice confirmed his intent to file a one-time switch with FIFA and change his international allegiance to England.

"This has been an extremely difficult decision and, in all honesty, not one I ever expected to be making at this stage of my career," Rice said.

"Like so many people around the world, I consider myself to be of mixed nationality. I am a proud Englishman, having been born and raised in London.

"However, I am just as proud of my family's Irish heritage and my affinity and and connection with the country.

"Ultimately, it is a personal decision that I have made with my heart and my head, based on what I believe is best for my future."

Rice has made 23 Premier League appearances for West Ham this season, scoring one goal. 

 

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