West Ham teenager Declan Rice has been called-up to Martin O’Neill’s now-39-man squad for the Republic of Ireland’s upcoming three-match schedule, writes Stephen Barry.
The 18-year-old Londoner qualifies to represent Ireland through the grandparent rule and has played at underage level for the boys in green, winning the U17 International Player of the Year award in March.
West Ham PL2 captain Declan Rice has been crowned FAI U17 International Player of the Year at a ceremony in Dublin Congratulations Declan.dg pic.twitter.com/X6ombvlsN7— David Gold (@davidgold) March 21, 2017
It’s another landmark on a dream week for Rice, coming two days after he made his West Ham debut, as an 89th-minute substitute against Burnley.
2-1 Win ✅ Premier League Debut✅ Dream Come True ✅ #COYI— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) May 21, 2017
“Declan is very good for his age,” said Hammers manager Slaven Bilic.
“He is extremely good, he is mature and it’s all based on the training and he plays very well for the Under-23s. He has a bright future in him and it’s all down to him.
“He played a couple of games in the pre-season when we went to the States and we were missing a few players. I can see him being a really good player.”
Former Cork City players Kevin Long, who started all three of Burnley’s final games of the season, and Alan Browne of Preston North End are the other two uncapped players to be called up for the three-day training camp at Fota Island, which begins tomorrow.
Cork City’s current goalkeepers Mark McNulty and Alan Smith will join the camp, as some more experienced internationals take a break before reporting for Ireland duty next week.
The squad will travel to the USA to play Mexico on June 1 and will host Uruguay on June 4, in advance of the World Cup qualifier against Austria on June 11.
Austria manager Marcel Koller has named four uncapped players in his 23-man squad for that game at the Aviva Stadium, including back-up goalkeepers Markus Kuster (Mattersburg) and Daniel Bachmann (Stoke).
Augsburg defender Kevin Danso and Salzburg midfielder Konrad Laimer have also received call-ups.
Bayern Munich's David Alaba is included, although Koller has left out suspended Stoke forward Marko Arnautovic for what is a must-win game.
Also missing is Laimer’s Salzburg teammate Andres Ulmer. Much to Koller’s frustration, the left-back has picked a wedding date which clashes with the weekend of the Ireland game and has opted out of the squad.
Goalkeepers: Mark McNulty, Alan Smith (Cork City)
Defenders: Cyrus Christie, Alex Pearce, Richard Keogh (Derby County), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Andy Boyle (Preston North End), Kevin Long (Burnley) Declan Rice (West Ham United), John Egan (Brentford)
Midfielders: Eunan O'Kane (Leeds United), Alan Browne, Daryl Horgan (Preston North End), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City), Callum O'Dowda (Bristol City)
Forwards: David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Daryl Murphy (Newcastle United)