Kevin Kilbane angrily questions West Ham's Declan Rice on Twitter

Former Everton players Ian Snodin (L) and Kevin Kilbane are interviewed in the Everton fan zone prior to the Premier League match between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur at Goodison Park on...

West Ham United's Declan Rice will now be playing for England instead of Ireland.

Kevin Kilbane of the FA Legends

West Ham United ace Declan Rice has decided to switch his international allegiance to play for England in a hugely controversial move.

Rice, 20, has been one of the Premier League's top performers this season, emerging as arguably the finest young holding midfielder in the top flight.

His outstanding displays for West Ham have seen him earn huge praise, and even a bumper new contract last month as he decided to stay at the London Stadium.

 

The next decision Rice had to make was over his international future. Despite being born in London, Rice started out his international career with the Republic of Ireland, qualifying as his grandparents were from Cork.

Rice turned out for Ireland's Under-16's, 17's, 19's and 21's, before also grabbing three caps for the senior side, the latest of which came back in June against the USA, with all his caps coming in friendly games.

Rice has been out of contention as he was left to weigh up his future, and he has now decided to switch his allegiance to play for England instead.

West Ham United's Declan Rice during the Premier League match between West Ham United and Arsenal FC at London Stadium on January 12, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

It's a major coup for Gareth Southgate, but Rice's decision has been viewed as hugely controversial, sparking a debate about national identity and whether he's making the right decision.

Pundit and ex-Ireland international Kevin Kilbane – who was born in Preston but chose to play for Ireland – has taken to Twitter to react angrily, asking Rice just why he ever even bothered to play for Ireland in the first place if he viewed himself as a 'proud Englishman', as he claimed in his statement on Wednesday.

Dublin , Ireland - 2 June 2018; Declan Rice of Republic of Ireland celebrates his side's first goal scored by Graham Burke during the International Friendly match between Republic of...

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