Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill has admitted that there has been no change in the international situation of Declan Rice, as the West Ham midfielder mulls over his future.
Rice, who was born in London, qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandparents. He played for Ireland throughout the youth ranks, before making his senior debut against Turkey in March.
However, he has been left out of O'Neill's last two squads because he is considering switching his allegiance to England, having only played for Ireland in friendlies.
Asked for an update on Tuesday, O'Neill admitted that he is 'still hopeful' despite no change in the situation.
"There's no change. I think there's going to be a decision from himself and the family at the end of the year," O'Neill confirmed (via RTE Sport). "I'm always hopeful. My stance hasn't really changed since last month and the month before. Obviously there are a lot of stories coming out, but there hasn't been any change, I can say that for sure.
"It's entirely up to the player, it will be decision. He's got a lot of things to consider, a lot of which might favour England. But overall, still hopeful."
It might have been criticised as a cynical move but we'll likely be looking back on the failure not to cap Declan Rice against Moldova last year with regret. A Sliding Doors moment.— Kieran Cunningham (@KCsixtyseven) October 31, 2018
Rice has again been omitted from O'Neill's squad for the Republic of Ireland's games against Northern Ireland and Denmark later this month. The 19-year-old started his tenth consecutive game for West Ham in Saturday's win over Burnley as he continues to deputise admirably in the absence of Jack Wilshere.
He has been named West Ham's Young Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons.