Declan Rice declares for ENGLAND over Republic of Ireland

Mick McCarthy

Mick McCarthy

Rice had spent months deliberating on his decision with his family, girlfriend and friends as his stock has risen at West Ham, where he has made 27 appearances this season.

"This has been an extremely hard decision and, in all honesty, not one I ever expected to be making at this stage of my career", Rice said in a statement.

The Football Association of Ireland can confirm that Declan Rice (West Ham United) has opted to purse his worldwide career with England.

Able to play both in the centre of defence and midfield, Rice will be confident of a place in the Three Lions squad in the near future - especially given Eric Dier's inconsistent efforts as manager Gareth Southgate's only natural defensive midfielder.

"I fully accept that some Irish supporters will be disappointed by my decision, and that everyone has different opinions in regard to the rules around global representation".

"Sad to hear, but good luck with England", one wrote. "However, I hope that people can understand that I have made this decision with honesty, integrity and the full support of my family".

The 20-year-old was given his senior Ireland debut by former manager Martin O'Neill in a friendly global against Turkey last March and has made two other appearances, but has yet to represent them in a competitive match, ...

Rice said: "My pride at wearing the Irish shirt was always 100 percent genuine", but added that he hopes to be called up by England because that's "best for my future".

Meanwhile Ireland manager Mick McCarthy wished Rice luck in his career: "Declan rang me today and said he has made a decision to give it a go with England". However, out of respect for the Republic of Ireland, I felt it was right to announce this decision now and put an end to the speculation.

"In football, and in life, I have always tried to be completely honest and true to myself and my family at all times, and that is what I will continue to do".