England coach Gareth Southgate has spoken publicly on his own level of involvement in the recent Declan Rice announcement.
Last month, West Ham's Rice announced he was switching his allegiance to England after representing Ireland at underage level as well as three senior international friendlies. The 20-year-old ended months of speculation by declaring for England and has had the move approved by FIFA.
For Gareth Southgate, it is a welcomed addition of a talented prospect but the English coach claims he stepped away to allow Rice make the decision. Speaking to TalkSport, Southgate explained he did not want to pressurise anyone.
Some players we’ve lost at a young age, others have come over to us so it is fluid within youth football. Declan is the same age as those kids and has played first-team football. But I think we’re asking him to make really big decisions and that’s why I backed away from his decisions.
He knew what we thought of him as a player but it was important that he had the space to make that decision.
Southgate did add that he felt there is a "debate to be had" about the rule itself.
"While the rules are what they are I think that’s going to happen. Families are moving countries, the world is a lot more fluid in terms of eligibility. The only guide we can take are by the rules and they are as they are."
Rice can now be included in the squad for England's upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro. That squad will be named next week.