This was the hardest decision Declan Rice has ever had to make… but he can be a natural leader for England and Gareth Southgate
- Declan Rice has switched international allegiance from Ireland to England
- West Ham midfielder had played three times in friendlies for Republic of Ireland
- Sportsmail’s JAMIE REDKNAPP believes Rice can be an asset for England
- Gareth Southgate’s faith in young players means he will get opportunities
Declan Rice has shocked the Republic of Ireland and switched his international allegiance to England.
The West Ham midfielder had already played three times for the Republic in friendlies, but because he is yet to feature in a competitive fixture, he is still eligible to play for Gareth Southgate‘s side.
Here, Sportsmail’s JAMIE REDKNAPP assesses whether Rice made the right call by seeking an England call-up.
Sportsmail’s Jamie Redknapp believes Declan Rice can be a natural leader for England
This will have been the hardest decision Declan Rice has ever had to make.
He is a grounded, down-to-earth young man.
The considered statement he released shows just how long and hard he has thought about declaring for England.
He will know he is taking a risk.
Had Declan chosen to stick with the Republic of Ireland, they would have built their team around a player of his quality.
Rice played three times for the Republic before switching allegiance to England on Wednesday
He may have to wait longer to become a mainstay in England’s midfield but, in Gareth Southgate, he has a manager who has consistently given chances to young players.
Declan has shown incredible maturity in learning his position in defensive midfield.
He picks pockets, makes timely blocks and reads the game well. When I watch him at West Ham I see a natural leader.
He is always talking and organising his team-mates.
I would be amazed if he is not in next month’s squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro.
His decision is great news for Southgate and England.
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