West Ham star Declan Rice receives first England call-up

Declan Rice celebrates scoring at London Stadium


West Ham United star Declan Rice has been called up to the England squad for the first time.

The Hammers midfielder continues his outstanding season by being included in Gareth Southgate’s senior Three Lions selection for the opening UEFA Euro 2020 Group A qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro.

Rice is eligible to represent England after his decision to switch international allegiance from Republic of Ireland was approved by FIFA in early March.

After being handed his debut by Slaven Bilic in May 2017, Rice continued to develop under David Moyes, playing an important role at centre-back as West Ham finished last season strongly.

Under the guidance of Manuel Pellegrini, the 20-year-old has flourished in a deep-lying midfield role, starting 27 of the Club’s 30 Premier League matches, scoring his first senior goals in wins over Arsenal and Newcastle United and becoming the first teenager to make 50 appearances for the Irons since Michael Carrick in 2001.

An Academy of Football graduate, two-time Young Hammer of the Year and former U18s and U23s captain, Rice finished as runner-up to Marko Arnautovic for Hammer of the Year last season and is a strong candidate to win the award this term.

The No41 is the first West Ham United player, loanee Joe Hart aside, to be called-up by England since Aaron Cresswell appeared in a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying win in Lithuania in October 2017.

Should he feature against either Czech Republic at Wembley on Friday 22 March or Montenegro in Podgorica on Monday 25 March, he will become the 42nd senior England international in the Club’s history.

If you would like to be at the Home of Football for what could be Rice’s senior England debut against the Czechs, tickets are available here.

Alternatively, both matches will be broadcast live in the UK by ITV.