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

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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.

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.

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"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.