Declan Rice chooses to represent England rather than ROI at international level

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Declan Rice has announced that he's chosen to represent England rather than the Republic of Ireland on the international stage. 

West Ham United's defensive midfielder has previously represented the ROI throughout his career, all the way through from under-16s to making three senior appearances.

In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, Rice announced that he has requested a transfer of his international registration from FIFA as he wants to represent England going forward.  

The 20-year-old explained that he's already informed both Mick McCarthy and Gareth Southgate of his 'extremely difficult' decision and that he won't be taking any call-ups for granted.

Read his full statement below. 

Rice's future has been a hot topic since he burst onto the Premier League scene in 2017. 

Born in London, he was eligible to play for Ireland as his grandparents were from Cork and had been making his way through their international youth setup since 2015. 

Two years later, he was named Republic of Ireland's U17 player of the year and shortly after, was called up to the senior squad in May.

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However, Rice had to wait almost a year to make his international debut, which came in March 2018 in a 1-0 defeat to Turkey. 

In August last year, Martin O'Neill, who was in charge of the team at the time, omitted Rice from a number of squads as he was considering switching Ireland for England. 

When McCarthy took over the job, he met with the West Ham youngster to discuss his future.

He told Rice that he could become a future captain and that the team would be built around him should he stay.  

But now, the player has requested an international transfer to England and will spend the rest of his career representing the Three Lions instead. 

Reacting to the news, McCarthy said: "Declan rang me today and said he has decided to give it a go with England. Good luck to him."

Whether he'll be picked for England's next fixtures remains to be seen. 

They kick off their Euro 2020 qualification campaign on March 22 with a home fixture against the Czech Republic, before traveling to Montenegro three days later. 

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