West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has weighed in on the debate surrounding Hammers youngster Declan Rice and his choice of country to play for internationally.
Despite being born in London, Rice has represented the Republic of Ireland at every age group from Under-16 upwards, and has also appeared three times for the senior squad.
His omission from Martin O'Neill's latest squad has thrown a spanner in the works however, and the Irish boss has claimed that his decision not to include Rice in the squad was based off the youngster's head being turned after an approach from England.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Pellegrini underlined that he felt Rice should follow his heart and consider which country would give him the better opportunities.
He said: “He has a big problem but I think that his heart must decide if he feels more Irish or more English. He is 19 years old and his future will allow him to play for England or Ireland. Maybe for him it can be more easy to play for Ireland but if you trust in yourself and you feel that you are an English player - it is a personal decision.
The Chilean did however emphasise that he felt Rice, who has made 34 appearances for West Ham, has all the tools to become an England player in future.
He added: “He is a strong player, a good technical player and I think that he has a big future. In England he will have big competition but I think that he is able to take that challenge. The decision must be his.”