West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has finally declared he intends to play for England, ending a long-running wrangle over his international allegiances.
The 20-year-old released a statement on his personal Twitter account this afternoon announcing his decision and Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy has since confirmed that the player had informed him of his decision beforehand.
Rice qualified for Ireland through his grandparents from Cork. Between 2015 and 2018, he represented the Republic of Ireland at under-16, under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels, playing 20 times in total.
In 2018, he graduated to the senior side and made three appearances in friendlies under Martin O’Neill. In each game, the Londoner was Ireland’s best player.
“Declan rang me today and said he has decided to give it a go with England. Good luck to him,” said McCarthy.
The confirmation has not come as a surprise to most supporters with regular reports he had been courted by Gareth Southgate and England.
ClaretandHugh: Fabulous news for England but we feel a little sorry for the Republic after Dec had made those early appearances for the nation. However, it was always the more likely option that he would settle for the Three Lions and it has to be respected given how long the lad has been agonising over the decision. It would be natural that his Dad would probably want him to play for the nation of his birth but given he grew up and learned all his football in this country it’s now perfectly understandable why he has opted to pledge himself to England. As a Hammer I believe he will eventually – and perhaps not too far in the future – become skipper of our great club. I am equally sure that he will also become the Three Lions skipper which may – given that he would follow the great Mooro into the role finally give us the chance of winning something again!
Copy of Declan’s Twitter statement is below: