Rice, Heaton named in England squad

 

Declan Rice has been named in the England squad for the first time ahead of the upcoming Euro 2020 Qualifiers, with Tom Heaton also included.

West Ham midfielder Rice decided in February to commit his international future to England, despite having already represented Republic of Ireland three times at senior level.

None of those matches were competitive fixtures, however, and Gareth Southgate has opted to pick the English-born 20-year-old in his squad for the game against the Czechs at Wembley on March 22 and the trip to Montenegro three days later.

Rice, named the Republic of Ireland’s Young Player of the Year on Tuesday, only received international clearance from FIFA to switch allegiance to England on March 5.

Burnley goalkeeper Heaton has also earned a recall, having not played for England since the 3-2 defeat to France in June 2017.

Heaton was on Southgate’s standby list for the World Cup in Russia after recovering from a shoulder injury.

Southgate’s No 1 ‘keeper Jordan Pickford is also named in the squad and is expected to start against Czech Republic, despite struggling for form with Everton in recent weeks.

Elsewhere, defenders Danny Rose, James Tarkowski, Harry Maguire all return after missing the 2-1 win over Croatia in the UEFA Nations League in November, the last match played by the senior squad.

Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka has not done enough to secure his selection in the 25-man squad, despite having become a regular at right-back under Roy Hodgson at Selhurst Park.

Meanwhile, Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks and Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard miss out through injury.

 

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