By G9ija

The versatile West Ham midfielder had previously featured in three friendly matches for Mick McCarthy’s Republic of Ireland side, before pledging his future to the Three Lions and receiving FIFA clearance last month.

England begin their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign next week with fixtures against Czech Republic and Montenegro and Southgate has opted to include the 20-year-old in his plans at the first opportunity.

Rice, who left Chelsea’s academy as a teenager, has starred at the heart of West Ham’s midfield this season and won man of the match awards for outstanding displays against Arsenal and Liverpool.

On Rice’s inclusion, Southgate said: His form warrants his selection. It has been a well publicised situation with Declan and we have tracked him for a long time. When you’re asking a player to transfer association you have to feel the player has a future with you. Saying that, there are no guarantees, but his form has been excellent. We like his character and he can play as a holding midfielder or a defender. We look forward to welcoming him next week.

There aren’t many players of Declan’s age playing as well as he is in the Premier League. ‘We have a few in our squad, but in the end, mentality often dictates how far players can go. What I like in our squad, is a lot of players want to be among the best in the world.

Tom Heaton, meanwhile, returns to the fold having regained his position as Burnley’s No.1, while Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli is included despite only having returned to action last Saturday following a hamstring injury which ruled him out for five weeks.

Alli’s Spurs teammate Harry Winks does miss out through injury, however, but Callum Wilson, who scored on his international debut back in November, makes the cut having made his comeback after nearly three months out in Bournemouth’s win over Huddersfield last weekend.

Gareth Southage’s England Squad

Goalkeepers

Tom Heaton, Jack Butland, Jordan Pickford

Defenders

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Michael Keane, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, James Tarkowski

Midfielders

Ross Barkley, Dele Alli, Fabian Delph, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Declan Rice

Forwards 

Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling, Callum Wilson

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