Declan Rice set to start for England against Czech Republic
Gareth Southgate said he made no guarantees to Declan Rice when the 20-year-old opted to switch his international allegiances.
The England boss spoke highly of Declan Rice when he named him in his England squad, last week, but insisted he would have to earn his game-time, just like everyone else.
Rice made three friendly appearances for Ireland but, last month, informed the FAI that he was intent on switching his registration to play for England, where he was born and raised, at senior level.
Within weeks he was called up by Southgate and, on Monday, he arrived at St George's Park for his first day of full training with the England squad. He arrived with a West Ham bag from the club shop that contained some of his boots, which he handed over to a member of the England backroom staff.
— England (@England) March 18, 2019
He then joined his new squad-mates for an indoor training session. It was gentle going after a weekend of FA Cup and Premier League action but there will be a pitch session today.
Rice still had energy left to express his joy at his first day in the English camp, and pop in a couple of emojis.
Loved the first day🦁❤️ https://t.co/PlT316qEyE
— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) March 18, 2019
Southgate is now set to do what former Ireland boss Martin O'Neill seemed so reluctant to - cap Rice in a competitive fixture.
The Mirror is reporting that Rice is set for his debut against the Czech Republic, on Friday, in a Euro 2020 Qualifier.
The West Ham midfielder, who can also play in defence, could even play from the start as Jordan Henderson is dealing with an ankle injury he picked up on Liverpool duty, in Europe, last week.
England have lost midfielders Fabian Delph and Ruben Loftus-Cheek to withdrawals, which further opens up the possibility of an early cap for Rice. Southgate must also plan without John Stones and Manchester United left back Luke Shaw, who pulled out of the squad on Monday.