Monday 25 March 2019

Declan Rice named FAI Young Player of the Year - but won't pick up his award in Dublin

After making three appearances for the Republic of Ireland, Declan Rice declared for England .Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
After making three appearances for the Republic of Ireland, Declan Rice declared for England .Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

West Ham star Declan Rice has been named the FAI Young Player of the Year just one month after switching his international allegiance to England.

The FAI confirmed this afternoon that Rice is set to win the prize at the '3' FAI International Awards, taking place on Sunday March 17.

The voting took place before the youngster confirmed his intention to switch to England. Rice won three international caps in green during 2018, and produced a number of impressive performances.

In a statement, the FAI said that the decision to name Rice the Young Player of the Year despite his defection 'maintains the integrity of the voting process in conjunction with the Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland'.

Rice will not be in attendance to receive the award, with the ceremony to be shown live on RTÉ this weekend.

Rice played Turkey, France and the USA, but since all three caps came in friendly matches, he was able to switch to England.

Having come on leaps and bounds at West Ham this season, the 20-year-old decided after much deliberation to switch allegiance from the country he represented at both youth and senior levels.

Rice, who was born in London and has Irish grandparents, considers himself "to be of mixed nationality" and last week saw his switch to England ratified by FIFA as his three senior caps for the Republic came in friendlies.

The midfielder is set to be named in Gareth Southgate's England squad on Wednesday afternoon, having been confirmed as the Football Association of Ireland's Young Player of the Year less than 24 hours earlier

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