Declan Rice has spoken for the first time since committing his international future to England. The now-former Republic of Ireland international was speaking at the London Football Awards that were taking place last night.
The West Ham defender said that deciding on his international future was "the toughest decision I have had to make so far in my career."
Rice was speaking after picking up the London football award for young player of the year, he also admitted to doing a lot of growing up over the last year.
Being so young, I didn't think I would ever be in a position to make that call but it's one that I have made and one that I am looking forward to in the future.
Rice who has Irish grandparent and played for Ireland at youth level and was capped three times at senior level in friendly matches during the first half of 2018. London born Rice pulled out of the Irish set-up last August, requesting more time to consider his international options.
After speaking with both England manager Gareth Southgate and Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy he elected to commit his international future to the country of his birth last month.
While Rice's ascent this season has been meteoric, he initially struggled under new manager Manuel Pellegrini. After being subbed off at half-time in the first game of the season, he was benched for the next three games. However, since getting back into the side against Everton in September he has played every single minute of the campaign since.
Rice has put his development down to the belief that Manuel Pellegrini has shown in him.
I have found my place in the team, the manager has shown a lot of belief and trust in me. I am really grateful to him for that.
I am loving it, I am really enjoying it. Last year was tough because I was in and out of the side and the start of this season was tough.
I am playing with a smile on my face, which is the main thing.
It is expected that Rice will be called up to Gareth Southgate's England squad, once all of the paperwork has been processed by FIFA.