Declan Rice has expressed his pride at being included in Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad, weeks after switching allegiances from the Republic of Ireland.

The West Ham United starlet should play a part as England kick off their EURO 2020 qualifying campaign against the Czech Republic and Montenegro later this month.

Rice has burst onto the scene for the Hammers this season and is now a crucial part of Manuel Pellegrini’s plans at the London Stadium.

Speaking to the official West Ham website, he stated his excitement at the chance of working with Southgate and how he was ready to prove he belongs on the international stage.

I am very proud and honoured to have been selected by England, and I am excited to start working with Gareth Southgate, the coaches and the rest of the squad. However, I am looking forward to the challenge of trying to prove to the England manager that I am worthy of a place in his team, and hopefully continuing to progress my career in the right direction.

The 20-year-old pledged himself to Southgate and England last month, despite already making three appearances for the Republic of Ireland.

He also won the nation’s ‘Young Player of the Year’ award last week, despite his decision to represent the Three Lions, but he insists he’s now looking forward after such a tough decision.

I had an extremely difficult decision to make regarding my international future, but I have made that decision and now I just want to focus on the future, continuing to work hard and play as well as I possibly can.

England play their first Group A game against the Czech’s at Wembley Stadium on March 22, before travelling to Montenegro on March 25.

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