West Ham midfielder Declan Rice could be immediately called up by England boss Gareth Southgate, after switching his international allegiance from the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday.
Rice had already played three times for the Irish, though each appearance came in a friendly, meaning he could still change his mind. He qualified for the Boys in Green thanks to his grandparents, but was born in Surrey, England to English parents.
In a statement on his Twitter account, the midfielder admitted: "This has been an extremely difficult decision and not one I ever expected to be making at this stage of my career. In recent months, I have discussed it with the people who mean the most to me.
"My parents, my family, my girlfriend and my closest friends. I have also spoken to Martin O’Neill and Mick McCarthy, Gareth Southgate and to friends and colleagues within the game whose opinion I respect.
"Like so many people, I consider myself to be of mixed nationality. I am a proud Englishman, having been born and raised in London. However, I am just as proud of my family’s Irish heritage and my affinity and connection with the country.
Understand Gareth Southgate is keen to include #whufc Declan Rice in his next England squad in March, but FIFA’s procedures for transferring his international status may make that impossible. Will take between 2-6wks. #England squad due to be announced in 4wks.— Rob Dorsett (@RobDorsettSky) February 14, 2019
"I have equal respect and love for both England and Ireland and therefore the national team I choose to represent is not a clear-cut, simple selection. Ultimately, it is a personal decision that I have made with my heart and my head, based on what I believe is best for my future."
With a written request to change Rice's registration already submitted to FIFA, Rice could be in consideration for next months Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro - although that will hinge on whether or not his registration papers are finalised in time.
Standard FIFA procedure normally dictates that switching nationality could take anything between two to six weeks, with England's squad due to be announced in four weeks time - meaning Rice's potential participation could be in serious doubt.
After accepting the disappointment of Irish fans, and affirming his pride at wearing the shirt was genuine, the 20-year-old finished by declaring: "I am not taking for granted a call-up to the England squad or making any assumptions about my future international career."
Source : 90min