England squad: Dual heritage changing global landscape, says Gareth Southgate

England squad: Dual heritage changing global landscape, says Gareth Southgate

The West Ham United midfield player only received worldwide clearance from Federation Internationale de Football Association to change his nationality last week having previously won three caps for Ireland, but Southgate believes he has a big future with England.

The mood in Ireland has not been helped by the timing - his call-up comes just 24 hours after he was nominated the FAI young player of the year after a vote that took place before news of the switch emerged.

Southgate pointed to Alex Iwobi, Ethan Ampadu and Brooks as players that have gone on to play for other countries having represented England at youth levels, like Wilfried Zaha and Victor Moses before them.

It seened to be a foregone conclusion that West Ham midfield star Declan Rice was going to receive his first England call-up this week, but when it was at last confirmed today it was still a delight to Hammers fans.

The 18-year-old winger has racked up nine goals and 11 assists in all competitions this season for Lucien Favre's side.

Preston-born former Ireland worldwide Kevin Kilbane has been outspoken about Rice's switch and said it "makes a mockery" of global football.

England squad: Dual heritage changing global landscape, says Gareth Southgate

"As I said last month, I had an extremely difficult decision to make regarding my global future, but I have made that decision and now I just want to focus on the future, continuing to work hard and play as well as I possibly can. But I don't think that's right". That was clear - you've got to be playing well to get in the squad.

"We like his character, his leadership qualities and he can play as a holding midfielder or a defender". We have a few in our squad, but in the end, mentality often dictates how far players can go.

Commenting on the call up, Southgate said: "His form warrants his selection".

Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton is back in the squad having recovered from a shoulder injury and Southgate said he would be talking to Pickford together with the England goalkeeper coach Martyn Margetson before deciding on his no. 1.

What happened to players needing to "be playing regularly and in good form" to make the squad, Gareth?

And he responded to Rice's critics, pointing to the fact that some of them "did not play for the country of their birth", a likely reference to Kilbane. "He's only recently got back into the team at Southampton", Southgate added.



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