England scouts have been watching Declan Rice in action for West Ham – and they are impressed with what they have seen.
According to The Daily Mail, England are growing increasingly interested in Rice and hope he chooses to play for them.
Rice is currently stuck in the middle of a dilemma regarding his international allegiance.
But England are hopeful that he will opt to represent the Three Lions.
Rice is caught in the middle of an identity crisis of sorts. Born in London to parents of Irish ancestry, he has split loyalties.
The 19-year-old has represented the Republic of Ireland at every youth level and has even played three senior games for Martin O’Neill’s side.
But he is yet to play a competitive game for the boys in green. He recently turned down the chance to play in the UEFA Nations League, amid whispers that England might be keen.
For England, he is representing the country of his birth and where he has lived for his entire life.
Rice would also have more chance of playing at major tournaments and competing for silverware.
However, playing for Ireland would mean a lot to his family and he could be the star man for the Irish already.
The Daily Mail understands that Rice is leaning towards England, although his decision has not been made yet.
Rice for West Ham
It is no surprise that England scouts have been impressed with Rice this season.
The teenager has played a starring role as a defensive midfielder in Manuel Pellegrini’s new 4-3-3 system.
Operating just head of the defence, Rice has helped break up play with tackles, interceptions, clearances, blocks and aerial dominance.
He is also comfortable on the ball and exactly the type of player that England need in midfield.
Having proven his class against the likes of Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba this season, Rice is certainly one for the future for England.
In fact, he would probably be ready to make the step up sooner rather than later.