Declan Rice girlfriend revealed as West Ham star earns England call-up

Image PA

Given that the Three Lions' boss has called up four central defenders, it seems likely that Rice will be used as a holding midfielder, rather than being utilised in the back line.

On Rice's inclusion, the England manager said: "His form warrants it".

After naming Rice in his squad for the first time, Southgate insisted that he fully deserved his place.

"The fact Declan played three senior worldwide games for us makes it a tad more disappointing, but good luck to the lad, we hope he does really well".

Like Rice, Everton defender Keane had a choice between England and Ireland with his father having left the Republic as a nine-year-old to start a new life across the Irish Sea.

"There aren't many players of his age playing as well as he is in the Premier League".

Preston-born former Ireland worldwide Kevin Kilbane has been outspoken about Rice's switch and said it "makes a mockery" of global football.

Southgate has chosen to leave out Lewis Dunk (Brighton), whose good form was rewarded with an England cap back in a friendly against the USA back in November, with Smalling missing out despite some excellent recent performances for Manchester United.

Image PA
Image PA

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton has also been recalled having not featured for his country in almost two years.

"As I said last month, I had an extremely difficult decision to make regarding my worldwide future, but I have made that decision and now I just want to focus on the future, continuing to work hard and play as well as I possibly can".

"His character and leadership qualities mean he fits in very well into the way that we work".

England host Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium on March 22nd before traveling to Montenegro on 25th March. Discussing Ward-Prowse's absence, Southgate added: "We love Prowsey - this recent spell is his best since we capped him".

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".

"For me it was easy, I could only play for England, so there was no question in my mind, and for lots of people that commented that was the same".

"I'm never keen to say who is the number one because you have to have competition and we will help Jordan what was hopefully a blip at the weekend".

"We have always tried to look at that as ethically as we can".

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