Declan Rice reveals the moment he chose England over Ireland

Declan Rice has revealed that he chose to represent England over the Republic of Ireland during the 2018 World Cup.

Rice, who was born in Kingston upon Thames, was eligible to play for Ireland through his paternal grandparents, who were born in Cork.

He rose through the academy ranks with Ireland, playing for the U16, U17, U19 and U21 sides.

The midfielder then made his senior debut in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Turkey in March 2018, before playing a further two friendly matches in June.

In February of the following year, Rice declared that he would represent England, and made his debut for Gareth Southgate‘s side the next month.

He has since established himself as a key member of the England squad, and Euro 2020 is his first major senior international tournament.

Rice explains England choice

Rice has now revealed that he made the decision to switch to England during the 2018 World Cup.

The Three Lions, of course, reached the semi-finals of the tournament, losing to eventual runners-up Croatia, who they take on in their first Euro 2020 group game.

Rice said: “Honestly, the World Cup was buzzing.

“I was actually in Dubai. There was a massive football fan zone with a massive dome, and it was crazy. It was mental.

“I remember watching the Panama game, the Tunisia game, the Sweden game. It was incredible. The singing before the game, the national anthem. Just being a part of it.

“I was a fan for that tournament. So to be a part of this tournament is unbelievable.”

When asked whether that was the point at which the England switch was decided on, he replied: “Yeah, it was done then.

“We spoke about it so much but obviously growing up watching England in tournaments as well… you just feel the proper buzz, the effects and the desire of the country for the players to do well.”

England’s first group game of their Euro 2020 campaign is against Croatia on June 13, with the match taking place at Wembley.

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