Declan Rice named Ireland's Young Player of the Year

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Declan Rice has been named the Football Association of Ireland’s Young International Player of the Year, despite switching his allegiance to England.

The 20-year-old has made three senior appearances for Ireland in friendlies before he announced last month that he wanted to represent England.

An FAI statement read: "At the time of the vote, Declan Rice was an Ireland international and qualified for the Young Player category in a year that saw him win three senior caps, all in '3' International Friendly games.

"Declan Rice has since opted to switch his allegiance to England. The FAI has completed his international transfer via the FIFA protocols and wishes him well in the future.

"This award maintains the integrity of the voting process in conjunction with the Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland and the FAI thanks the jury members for their decisions relating to the awards.

"Declan Rice will not be in Dublin for the '3' FAI International Awards ceremony."

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The West Ham midfielder’s wish to play for England was processed by FIFA and he is able to be named in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this month’s European qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro.

After opting to play for the Three Lions last month, Rice wrote a long statement to explain his decision.

"I consider myself to be of mixed nationality. I have equal respect for both England and Ireland and therefore the national team I choose to represent is not a clear-cut, simple selection.

"Ultimately, it is a personal decision I have made with my heart and my head, based on what I believe is best for my future.

"I would also like to make it clear that, in requesting to transfer my national team representation, I am not taking for granted a call-up to the England squad."

It was a decision that angered many associated with Ireland, including Kevin Kilbane, who won 110 caps for Ireland.

 "If you're a 'proud Englishman' then why play for us in the first place?” he tweeted.

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