Declan Rice has been called up by England’s national team for the first time, a day after the 20-year-old midfielder was voted as Ireland’s young player of the year.
Rice, who plays for West Ham in the Premier League, decided last month to switch his international allegiance to England — the country of his birth — after playing three times for Ireland in friendly games. He was eligible for the Irish team through his paternal grandparents.
The Football Association of Ireland announced Tuesday that Rice was the country’s young player of the year, saying he would still receive the award because it “maintains the integrity of the voting process.”
England coach Gareth Southgate wasted no time in selecting Rice, whose switch of allegiance was ratified by FIFA last week. He was one of seven midfielders picked for England’s first two European Championship qualifiers, against Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium on March 22 and at Montenegro three days later.