March 12, 2019 / 6:18 PM / 8 days ago

Soccer: Rice wins Ireland Young Player award despite England switch

Soccer Football - Premier League - Cardiff City v West Ham United - Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Britain - March 9, 2019 West Ham's Declan Rice applauds fans after the match. Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

(Reuters) - West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice has been named Ireland’s Young Player of the Year a month after he switched allegiance to England, the Football Association of Ireland has said.

Rice, 20, was an Ireland international with three caps at the time of the vote but all his appearances had come in friendlies, allowing him to change team and represent England, which is the country of his birth.

Rice announced the move last month, describing it as “an extremely difficult decision”, before the change was confirmed by world soccer’s governing body FIFA on March 5.

The FAI International Awards will be held on Sunday.

England manager Gareth Southgate is set to name his squad this week for Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro later this month.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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