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Rice handed first England call-up after switch from Ireland

West Ham youngster Declan Rice was named in the England squad for this month's European Championship qualifiers just weeks after pledging his allegiance despite having already played for Ireland

Newly-eligible Declan Rice was the only new face in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for this month’s Euro 2020 qualifiers.

The Three Lions kick off Group A against the Czech Republic at Wembley next Friday before heading to Podgorica to take on Montenegro.

Southgate has named a 25-man squad for the Euro 2020 double-header, with West Ham midfielder Rice, as expected, the headline inclusion.

The 20-year-old appeared for the Republic of Ireland’s youth teams and won three senior caps, but FIFA last week ratified his switch to England as those three appearances came in friendlies.

Rice was the only uncapped player in the squad as Southgate favoured the tried and tested on the whole.

There was a recall for Tom Heaton, whose impressive form for Burnley has seen him selected alongside fellow goalkeepers Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland.

Southgate has kept faith with Kieran Trippier, despite questions over fitness and form, while James Tarkowski and Harry Maguire returned to the squad as Lewis Dunk and the injured Joe Gomez dropped out.

Harry Winks and Jesse Lingard were not risked due to groin and hamstring issues respectively, but Callum Wilson did enough on his return from a seven-week lay-off to be included again.

Rice was on Tuesday named the Republic of Ireland’s Young Player of the Year and Southgate recognised his decision to play for England was a very significant one.

He said of calling up the West Ham player: “His form warrants it. It’s obviously been a well-publicised situation. We’ve tracked him for quite a while.

“They’re really big decisions. When you’re asking a player to transfer association, you’ve got to make sure they’ve got a future with you. We like what we’ve seen. I think he’ll fit very well into the way that we work.

“There aren’t many players of his age playing as well as he is the Premier League.”

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