By 90Min
February 13, 2019

West Ham wonderkid Declan Rice has confirmed that he plans to represent England at international level.

The 20-year-old has established himself as one of the Premier League's finest defensive prospects since breaking through into the Hammers' first team in 2017. He has featured in three friendlies for the Republic of Ireland, but has now announced his intentions to play for England in the future.

Rice revealed the news of his decision on Twitter, stating that he has asked FIFA for permission to register for England.

He wrote: "This has been an extremely difficult decision and, in all honest, not one I ever expected to be making at this stage of my career. 

"So much has happened, so quickly, in the past couple of years, from progressing through the West Ham United Academy to making my Premier League debut at the age of 18 in May 2017 and then being named in a full international squad just two days later.

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"In recent weeks and months, I have discussed the situation with the people who mean the most to me. My parents, my family, my girlfriend and my closest friends. 

"I have also spoken to Martin O'Neill and Mick McCarthy, Gareth Southgate and to friends and colleagues within the game whose opinion I respect. I am truly grateful for the support I have received in leading to this decision.

"Like so many people around the world, I consider myself to be of mixed nationality. 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.

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"I have equal respect and love for both England and Ireland and therefore the national team I choose to represent is not a clear-cut, simple selection. Particularly not for a young lad who never dreamed of being in this position.

"Ultimately, it is a personal decision that I have made with my heart and my head, based on what I believe is best for my future."

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy sent his wishes to Rice, telling the Football Association of Ireland's official website: "Declan rang me today and said he has decided to give it a go with England. Good luck to him."

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