Declan Rice officially declares for England

Declan Rice is in contention for Gareth Southgate's plans for this summer's Uefa Nations League finals in Portugal after deciding to switch his worldwide allegiance from Ireland to England.

Declan Rice has confirmed that he has sent a request to Federation Internationale de Football Association to swap his worldwide allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England.

Rice, who has played in three Republic of Ireland friendly games against Turkey, France and United States of America, said he had called Mick McCarthy and Gareth Southgate on Wednesday to inform them of a decision he described as "extremely difficult".

Like so many people around the world, I consider myself to of mixed nationality.

'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, ' he said.

"I have also spoken to Martin O'Neill, Mick McCarthy, Gareth Southgate and to friends and colleagues within the game whose opinion I respect". I am a proud Englishman, having been born and raised in London.

'I have equal respect and love for both England and Ireland and therefore the national team I choose to represent is not a clear-cut, simple selection.

Rice is following in the footsteps of Aston Villa midfielder Jack Grealish, who switched to England in 2015 but has yet to make his debut in the senior team, only featuring for the Under-21s. Particularly not for a young lad who never dreamed of being in this position.

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 worldwide representation. "Good luck to him", McCarthy said.

"My pride at wearing the Irish shirt was always 100 percent genuine", he added.

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