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Southgate tips Rice and Grealish to flourish with England ahead of Ireland friendly

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Gareth Southgate has tipped Declan Rice and Jack Grealish to flourish with England as they prepare to face the Republic of Ireland for the first time since their respective international switches.

England will take on the Boys in Green in a friendly at Wembley on Thursday and it will be the first time Grealish and Rice have faced the country their previously represented.

Grealish represented Ireland up to U21 level but turned down a call up in 2015 before switching allegiances to England while Rice, now infamously, played three times at senior level for the Boys in Green before his international transfer.

The pair will be spared any hostilities however with the game at Wembley of course taking place behind closed doors.

Southgate was quizzed on Rice and Grealish, in addition to former Republic of Ireland youth international Michael Keane, outlining that they are now just focused on having successful careers with England.

“In terms of Declan, well, we’ve got the same situation with Jack and the same situation with Michael Keane really, so we’ll have to play somebody!” Southgate said, in quotes reported by RTE.

“But I can’t think too much about that. We’re obviously playing in an empty stadium which makes things a little bit different but I understand the interest in these players.

Declan Rice Mick McCarthy

“We’ve got a lot of these situations. We played Wales last month and they had a couple of players who were with us as youngsters: Tyler Roberts and Ethan Ampadu. We didn’t want to lose them.

“I think everybody is facing these challenges with dual nationality players and we’ve always got to get the balance right of not capping them too early, just to stop them going somewhere else – we want to be fair to them so they can have a career.

“But I think the three boys we have with us, they look as if they can have good international careers with us and we’re just focusing on that part of it, really.”

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Author: Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here oisin@punditarena.com