Declan Rice's heart with England, West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini says
Last Updated: 20/02/19 1:42pm
Manuel Pellegrini says West Ham midfielder Declan Rice opted to play for England rather than Republic Ireland because his heart lies with the country of his birth.
Rice, whose grandparents are Irish, decided to switch his senior international future to England despite playing in three friendlies for Ireland.
The West Ham midfielder, who was born and raised in London, informed Republic boss Mick McCarthy that he had chosen to switch his international allegiance to England following months of serious consideration.
Pellegrini says he has spoken to the 20-year-old, and fully supports the midfielder's decision to play for England.
Speaking ahead of Friday's night's Sky Live clash with Fulham, Pellegrini said: "It was a huge decision for him.
"I spoke with him and I know also that he spoke with an awful lot of people in his life to decide which was the best decision.
"If he wants to play for England, it means his heart is more in playing for England than for Ireland because he is from here."
Gareth Southgate is understood to be keen to include Rice in his set-up, but the West Ham youngster will not be allowed to take part in any England training sessions until his international status is fully cleared by FIFA.