Declan Rice 'bursting with pride' after England call-up
Last Updated: 20/03/19 9:32am
West Ham midfielder Declan Rice says he was "bursting with pride" after he was called into the England squad.
But the 20-year-old admits that picking England over the Republic of Ireland was not an easy decision to make.
Rice was named in Gareth Southgate's squad for the upcoming European Qualifiers after being granted FIFA clearance to switch international allegiance from the Republic of Ireland.
He had appeared for the Republic of Ireland's youth teams and also won three senior caps, but they were all in friendlies, which meant he was cleared to make the switch.
In an interview with the Football Association, Rice said: "It was a really tough decision. I think everyone knows my situation with the Republic of Ireland.
"I've played there in the youth set-up, but I had to make a decision that was best for me.
"As you can hear, I am English, I am from England and it was really good playing for Ireland.
"Now I'm just really looking forward to the future and pulling on the England shirt. I've just got to look forward and forget about the past."
Rice's impressive form with West Ham ensured that he has quickly forced his way into Southgate's plans.
Regarding his call-up, Rice said: "You can't describe it, I just couldn't believe it.
"I was ill the day last week that the squad got announced. My dad came home and we were watching the TV and it came up that I was in the squad.
"I was just bursting with pride. It's everything that you've wanted to work for as a kid and it has come true.
"The call-up is one of the best feelings you're ever going to feel."