Declan Rice has fully committed his international future to Ireland, amid talk of a potential switch to England.
English boss Gareth Southgate stated last month that Rice was among a number of players being monitored by the Three Lions for potential involvement in the future. The West Ham defender/midfielder, despite playing for Ireland at youth level, is English by birth and the fear was that his head could be turned by the prospect of playing more regularly at international tournaments.
However, speaking to the media, the recent winner of the FAI International U19 Player of the Year award has dismissed any doubts, saying his allegiance is fully with the Boys in Green:
“There’s no decision to be made. I have not had a call from the FA and England have never wanted me at under-age level — it’s always been Ireland.
“I’m here with Ireland and I’ve been called up by Martin. I’m really looking forward to this week and I’m looking forward to getting to know the boys better.
“No [I wouldn’t meet with Southgate], not at all. I’m fully focused on Ireland.”
Rice has been called up to Martin O’Neill’s Ireland squad for the first time for this week’s international friendly against Turkey, before immediately departing afterwards to be part of the Ireland U21 squad for their upcoming clashes with Iceland and Azerbaijan.
The 19-year-old is tipped for a big future with Ireland at senior level, as O’Neill looks to build a new-look squad for the UEFA Nations League and Euro 2020 qualifiers.