Rice handed first England call-up after switch from Ireland

Declan Rice with girlfriend Lauren Fryer

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

"Fundamentally, in this actual instance, he's a boy that was born in London and educated at an English academy", Southgate added.

Given that the Three Lions' boss has called up four central defenders, it seems likely that Rice will be used as a holding midfielder, rather than being utilised in the back line.

Southgate praised both Rice's statement and an article England Women's striker Eniola Aluko wrote on the subject.

Southgate pointed to Alex Iwobi, Ethan Ampadu and Brooks as players that have gone on to play for other countries having represented England at youth levels, like Wilfried Zaha and Victor Moses before them.

"It's a big decision for a 20-year-old".

Preston-born former Ireland worldwide Kevin Kilbane has been outspoken about Rice's switch and said it "makes a mockery" of global football.

"So I just think this is going to be increasingly part of the landscape because families are more transient".

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"When you are asking a player to transfer allegiance, they have to feel they have a future, but also there are no guarantees".

He is clearly upset that Ireland has lost a very talented footballer but unlike some supporters, he appreciates that it's the system that is to blame and not the player.

And he responded to Rice's critics, pointing to the fact that some of them "did not play for the country of their birth", a likely reference to Kilbane.

There is a recall for Tom Heaton, whose impressive form for Burnley sees him joining fellow goalkeepers Jordan Pickford and Jack Butland.

Southgate has chosen to leave out Lewis Dunk (Brighton), whose good form was rewarded with an England cap back in a friendly against the USA back in November, with Smalling missing out despite some excellent recent performances for Manchester United. What I like about our squad is that a lot of players have the mentality that they want to be amongst the best players in the world.

"I'm never keen to say this player is number one or first choice, you always need competition, but we're happy with what Pickford has done".

"We're pleased with what Jordan's done and we've got to help him through what was hopefully a blip at the weekend".

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