By 90Min
February 15, 2019

Former Chelsea centre-back John Terry was 'hugely influential' in West Ham youngster Declan Rice's decision to represent England at international level.

On Wednesday, Rice announced his decision to represent the Three Lions, having previously featured for the Republic of Ireland in three friendly matches.

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News of Terry's influence in the decision comes from The Sun, who note that the pair have maintained a close friendship since Terry unexpectedly contacted a 14-year-old Rice to wish him well following his release from Chelsea's academy.

Now assistant manager at Aston Villa, Terry has been a key adviser for Rice in recent years, and is thought to have told Rice that representing England would be beneficial for his development, both in the short term and long term.

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England manager Gareth Southgate is also said to have been desperate for Rice to switch his allegiance to the Three Lions, and the 48-year-old will undoubtedly be delighted by the West Ham star's decision.

Since breaking through in the Hammers' first team in 2017, Rice has established himself as one of the Premier League's most exciting prospects. The 20-year-old has made 59 appearances, featuring as both a central defender and a defensive midfielder, and he could now be in line for his first appearance for England in the near future.

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In March, Southgate's squad will face both the Czech Republic and Montenegro in qualifiers for Euro 2020 and, with the likes of Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier struggling for fitness, Rice has emerged as a likely candidate to feature in the squad.

He has started his side's last 20 Premier League games and even netted his first goal in senior football in the 1-0 victory over Arsenal in January. He is now widely viewed as one of the side's most important players, and it is this impressive form which has played him into consideration for a role in the England squad.

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