Gareth Southgate to make Declan Rice check in England's allegiance battle with Ireland
England manager Gareth Southgate is planning to make a personal check on Declan Rice during West Ham's Premier League clash with Wolves on Tuesday, sources have told ESPN FC, as the race to secure the player's international allegiance intensifies.
The 20-year-old defender, who can also play in midfield, has won three senior caps for the Republic of Ireland, but he is still eligible switch to England -- the country of his birth -- having not made a competitive appearance for the Irish.
Born and raised in London, Rice has made himself unavailable for selection for the Republic since the start of the season, therefore missing out on being tied to the Irish by playing in the UEFA Nations League.
Mick McCarthy, who replaced Martin O'Neill as Ireland coach last November, has admitted that Rice needs to be given time and space to make a decision on his international future.
But with the Euro 2020 qualifiers due to begin in March, Southgate is determined to ensure that the English Football Association is at the front of the queue when Rice decides on his international allegiance.
Rice has emerged as one of the brightest young prospects in the Premier League since making his debut as an 18-year-old against Burnley in May 2017.
His progress during that time has been monitored by Southgate and his England scouts, with West Ham also rewarding the youngster with a new five-and-a-half year contract at the London Stadium last month.