Declan Rice delighted after England debut in European Qualifier
By Adam Goodwin
Last Updated: 23/03/19 7:49pm
Declan Rice has said that making his England debut at Wembley on Friday night was a "special" and "surreal" experience.
The West Ham midfielder replaced Dele Alli in the 63rd minute, as England beat Czech Republic 5-0 in their opening European Qualifier.
"I probably won't think about it for a couple of days and then it will hit me," Rice told West Ham TV.
"To make my debut in front of 80,000 fans, and to have my family here; my girlfriend, my brothers, it's special and to get the victory as well, I can't really put it into words, but it's a special night."
Rice decided to switch allegiances to England in February, after playing for Republic of Ireland at underage level and making three friendly appearances for them.
Gareth Southgate called the 20-year-old up to the squad after impressing in the Premier League this season, and Rice praised the England boss after giving him his first cap.
"You hear a lot of stuff about how good he is at man-management and how he is with the players, and I have to say he has been top drawer with me," Rice said.
"He gives you the confidence to go out and play, and he wants you to express yourself."
Rice made his debut alongside Callum Hudson-Odoi, and with Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell also playing in Friday's win, he believes that Southgate's youthful approach will benefit the national side.
"You see he gave Callum Hudson-Odoi his debut as well," added Rice.
"He is not afraid, and I think that is really good for the young English players coming through."
With Eric Dier ruled out of England's next game against Montenegro, there could be an opportunity for Rice to make his first start for the Three Lions on Monday night.