West Ham midfielder Declan Rice’s chances of being named in the next England squad have received a significant boost after the Football Association formally applied to FIFA to have him declared as an English player.
The 20-year old who was born on Kingston-upon-Thames, qualified to play for both England and Ireland, with both his grandparents hailing from Cork. That led him to represent his adopted country at all age group levels, before playing three senior internationals for the Republic last year but, because they were only friendlies, they do not prevent him transferring his international allegiance.
After months of speculation about his international future, Rice made the formal decision to declare for England and telephoned both the Republic manager Mick McCarty, and Gareth Southgate to formally inform them as his choice.
Now it is a question of how long it takes the paperwork to clear, with the clear implication that it is a question of when, not if, he pulls on the Three Lions shirt.