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England coach Southgate coy over plans for West Ham defender Rice

England coach Gareth Southgate is coy over their interest in West Ham defender Declan Rice.

Southgate conceded the 19-year-old faces a "difficult decision" after turning down a call to Ireland's squad for the UEFA Nations League opener with Wales.

"As far as I'm concerned, he's with Ireland at the moment and as much as we think he's a very good player, that decision has to lie with him," said Southgate.

But as he announced his latest squad, the English boss made references to his dwindling top-flight playing pool and the shortage of youngsters under the age of 20 playing at that level - two boxes that Rice ticks.

"I can't rule out picking players in the Championship because our pool is getting smaller," said Southgate, who did say he was reluctant to fast-track youngsters for the sake of it.

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Paul Vegas

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