Declan Rice called up to England squad 2 months ago

Declan Rice called up to England squad

"We like his character and he can play as a holding midfielder or a defender."

Just a day after he was named the FAI's Young Player of the Year, Declan Rice has been called into the senior England squad.

Gareth Southgate handed the former Republic of Ireland international a call-up for the games against the Czech Republic and Montenegro later this month.

Rice played three times for Ireland in 2018. However, as all his appearances were in friendlies, he was free to switch allegiance to the country of his birth.

After months of deliberation, he did just that in February and had his Fifa registration transferred from Ireland to England.

Rice stated that it was an honour to play for Ireland, but he was a "proud Englishman."

Southgate spoke about his new recruit on Wednesday at the squad announcement. The England manager praised his "character" and ability to play in several different positions.

"His form warrants his selection," Southgate said.

"It has been a well-publicised situation with Declan and we have tracked him for a long time. When you're asking a player to transfer association you have to feel the player has a future with you. Saying that, there are no guarantees, but his form has been excellent. We like his character and he can play as a holding midfielder or a defender. We look forward to welcoming him next week.

"There aren't many players of Declan's age playing as well as he is in the Premier League. We have a few in our squad, but in the end, mentality often dictates how far players can go. What I like in our squad, is a lot of players want to be among the best in the world."

Here is the full England squad:

Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke City), Tom Heaton (Burnley), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

Defenders - Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Michael Keane (Everton), Harry Maguire (Leicester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), James Tarkowski (Burnley), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), Kyle Walker (Manchester City).

Midfielders - Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur), Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Fabian Delph (Manchester City), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham).

Forwards - Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth).