Monday, 25 March, 2019

England squad to face Czech Republic and Montenegro

Declan Rice Declan Rice made three appearances for the Republic of Ireland but qualified for England as they were all friendlies
Sidney Guerrero | 16 March, 2019, 14:55

The West Ham United midfield player only received global clearance from Federation Internationale de Football Association to change his nationality last week having previously won three caps for Ireland, but Southgate believes he has a big future with England.

"We need to use every player we can and players who are second generation Irish living in England are a part of that".

"Fundamentally, in this actual instance, he's a boy that was born in London and educated at an English academy", Southgate added.

Eric Dier, Fabian Delph, Ross Barkley and Jordan Henderson will be scrapping it out alongside Rice for a starting spot in England's midfield ahead of the matches against the Czech Republic and Montenegro. "So, I don't think there's too much that he needs to defend, but I understand the fact that there was a senior cap with Ireland, so that was always going to make it more complicated".

"The situation has been well publicised and we have tracked him for a quite a while". "They're really big decisions".

Given that the Three Lions' boss has called up four central defenders, it seems likely that Rice will be used as a holding midfielder, rather than being utilised in the back line.

Such attributes led the Three Lions boss and former Football Association technical director Dan Ashworth to visit Rice before last summer's World Cup, when they made it clear they saw an worldwide future for him. That said, there was never any guarantees made to him.

Bangladesh cricket team escaped Christchurch mosque shooting
According to Bangladesh Cricket Board President, Jalal Yunus, the players were about to enter the mosque when it happened.

"It was really important that he had the space because I knew that backlash would come", Southgate said.

Rice is the only uncapped player in the squad as Southgate favoured the tried and tested on the whole.

"But his form has been excellent and we like what we've seen in terms of his personality, his character and his leadership qualities". We have a few in our squad, but in the end, mentality often dictates how far players can go.

Southgate picked him as one of three keepers alongside Stoke City's Jack Butland and Tom Heaton, who returns to the squad following a lengthy absence.

Southgate decided against selecting Southampton goalkeeper Angus Gunn and Crystal Palace right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, two players in good form in the Premier League and who have been courted by Scotland and Congo, respectively.

On Rashford: "He wants to be the best player in the world and will dedicate himself to that".

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