Southgate giving Rice time to make decision

England boss Gareth Southgate has refused to pile any pressure on Declan Rice over his international future.

The West Ham defender is being courted by England having played three times for the Republic of Ireland.

He is yet to play a competitive game so is eligible to switch allegiance to the Three Lions having been born in London.

Rice, who has played 34 times for the Hammers, has Irish grandparents on his father’s side.

Southgate said: “There are so many dual nationality players and he is a good player. He has a really difficult decision and there is a lot of pressure on him.

“I’m conscious he is a young man and there’s a spotlight on him. He is with Ireland at the moment and as much as we think he is a very good player that decision has to lie with him.”

Rice played for Ireland’s Under-16, Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 sides before making his senior debut earlier this year against Turkey.

He has been left out of the senior squad by boss Martin O’Neill for the Nations League clash with Wales and a friendly against Poland to give him time to decide his future.