Declan Rice called up by England for first time as West Ham star named in squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers
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Declan Rice called up by England for first time as West Ham star named in squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers

DECLAN RICE has been called up by England for the first time after Gareth Southgate named his squad for the Three Lions' upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers on Wednesday.

The West Ham midfielder, 20, will be available for selection against the Czech Republic and Montenegro later this month after FIFA ratified his switch of international allegiance from the Republic of Ireland.

London-born Rice picked up three senior caps for Ireland in friendlies against Turkey, France and USA in 2018, but dropped out of their squad last Autumn ahead of a series of competitive fixtures in the newly-formed UEFA Nations League.

In February, Rice – who also played 20 times for the Republic at various youth levels after qualifying via his Cork grandparents – finally announced his decision to declare for England.

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The versatile youngster has enjoyed a breakout season with the Hammers as a defensive midfielder in 2018/2019 and has lined up an impressive 66 times overall for the east London club since his debut in 2017.

Rice, who can also play at centre-back, scored his first goal as a professional footballer against Arsenal back in January and doubled his tally for the season against Newcastle earlier this month.

His maiden England call-up has been greeted with little surprise following months of resounding performances by Rice in the Premier League, and especially given fellow defensive midfielder Eric Dier's underwhelming season for Tottenham.

England host the Czechs at Wembley on March 22 before travelling away to face the Montenegrins on March 25.

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See the squad in full below: