Newly-eligible Declan Rie has been named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for the first time ahead of the side’s UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic on March 22nd and Montenegro three days later. Rice has been named in the England squad, despite having been announced as the Republic of Ireland’s Young Player of the Year for 2018 by the FAI, amid much controversy and a highly publicized backlash yesterday.
Having this season flourished for West Ham, the 20-year-old decided after much deliberation and public attention to switch allegiance from the Republic of Ireland, which he represented at both youth and senior levels, to England.
Rice, who was born in London and has grandparents from Douglas in Co. Cork, considers himself “to be of mixed nationality” and last week saw his switch was ratified by FIFA as his three senior caps for the Republic came in friendlies. Rice has also recently declared himself to be a “proud Englishman” despite those three senior caps for the Republic of Ireland.
Resurgent goalkeeper Tom Heaton joins Rice in the squad for the Euro 2020 double-header, having shone for Burnley after fighting his way back into the side from a shoulder injury that ruled him out of the World Cup.
James Tarkowski, Callum Wilson and Ben Chillwell also return, having shared just eight senior England caps between them.
Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn are highly rated by Southgate but have both missed out on a call-up, with preparations for this summer’s Under-21 European Championship taking precedence.
England 23-man squad for opening Euro 2020 qualifiers:
Goalkeepers: Tom Heaton, Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, James Tarkowski
Midfielders: Ross Barkley, Dele Alli, Fabian Delph, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Declan Rice
Forwards: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson