Rice wins first England call-up

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The 20-year-old defensive midfielder, who has made three senior appearances for Ireland owing to having Irish grandparents, elected last month to make himself available to England manager Gareth Southgate.

Southgate said England have been tracking his progress and was delighted to be able to name him in his squad. The likes of Michael Keane and James Tarkowski continue to keep their noses in front of Chris Smalling at centre-back.

In terms of goalkeepers, Jack Butland and Burnley's Tom Heaton get in ahead of the likes of Marcus Bettinelli, Angus Gunn and Alex McCarthy. Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson gets a place after returning from injury in goalscoring fashion, while Chelsea midfielders Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are selected after some improvements under Maurizio Sarri.

There is no place, however, for Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse despite being tipped for a call-up in the wake of scoring six goals since the turn of the year for the Saints.

West Ham United midfielder and FAI Young Player of the Year Declan Rice is the only uncapped player called up to the squad after a season which has seen him impress hugely in Manuel Pellegrini's midfield.

On Rice call-up: "We've tracked him for quite a while".

"When you are asking a player to transfer allegiance, they have to feel they have a future, but also there are no guarantees".

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Image PA

"What we've seen throughout has been an impressive character, a young man that shows tremendous leadership and responsibility. He'll fit very well into how we work".

"We don't have many English goalkeepers playing, all of those that are playing have had moments and spells of good form, making good saves and days when they have not been so good", he told BBC Radio 5 Live and TalkSPORT. "How far a player goes is up to them, really". He had that at the weekend [versus Newcastle].

The Three Lions face Czech Republic and Montenegro later this month as they look to build on promising performances at the World Cup and in the Nations League.

On Sterling: "He's having another outstanding season".

On Heaton: "He's played well". Us as a nation and an association, we know that's a risk.

"For me it was easy, I could only play for England, so there was no question in my mind, and for lots of people that commented that was the same".



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