England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that young West Ham United defender Declan Rice is on the national team’s radar.
The centre-back has represented the Republic of Ireland up to under-21 level and has even been called up to the senior squad, but is yet to make his debut.
That means that the Three Lions could still poach Rice from Martin O’Neill’s men and Southgate has admitted that he is an admirer.
“He [Rice] is somebody whom we know with our technical department,” the 47-year-old is quoted as saying by Football.London.
“We are across every young player and, of course, there are plenty of young players with dual nationality.
“Wales have several players who have been in our system and who have got caps.
“So we are always looking. We are aware of him, we are aware of his situation.
“It’s more one for Dan Ashworth as technical director than for me as senior manager.”
Rice was born in London but qualifies to play for Ireland through his grandparents, who hail from Cork.
The 19-year-old has become a more prominent member of the West Ham first team this term, making 13 Premier League appearances of which four came as a starter.
It is unclear whether he would switch international allegiances at this stage, particularly given that he would most likely be closer to making his full debut for Ireland than he would for England.
However, with some concerns over the depth in the squad at centre-half under Southgate, it may not be long before he would be under consideration.
If he plays for either side in the upcoming Nations League, which starts in September, then he would be tied to that country for the remainder of his international career.
Irons fans would no doubt rather Rice concentrate on maintaining his club form after a promising start to his career at the London Stadium.
The youngster is considered a top claret and blue prospect and should be aiming to make himself a regular fixture in the team between now and the end of the season.