West Ham United defensive midfielder Declan Rice has made a decision on his international future, saying it was very difficult but his “heart and his head” say to file a one-time switch to represent England over the Republic of Ireland.
The 20-year-old was capped thrice for the Republic of Ireland, but his rise to a fixture under two managers at West Ham catapulted the possibilities of his representing the country of his birth, England.
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He was capped by Ireland at the U-16, U-17, U-19, and U-21 levels by Ireland before playing the full-90 for the senior team in a trio of 2018 friendlies against France, Turkey, and the U.S.
“I am a proud Englishman, having been born and raised in London. However, I am just as proud of my family’s Irish heritage and my affinity and connection with the country.”
Read the full statement below. It’s a hammer blow to what could’ve been a decade-long answer to Ireland’s midfield, and a risk for Rice. That said, his promise is nearly immeasurable.