Gareth Southgate Names England Squad For UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifiers

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On Rice's inclusion, the England manager said: "His form warrants it".

Southgate's No 1 'keeper Jordan Pickford is also named in the squad and is expected to start against Czech Republic, despite struggling for form with Everton in recent weeks.

His maiden England call-up has been greeted with little surprise following months of resounding performances by Rice in the Premier League, and especially given fellow defensive midfielder Eric Dier's underwhelming season for Tottenham.

"There aren't many players of Declan's age playing as well as he is in the Premier League".

Declan Rice has earned his first England call-up, with Gareth Southgate impressed by the West Ham midfielder's mentality.

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Image PA

"It has been a well publicised situation with Declan and we have tracked him for a long time".

Rice, who can play as a centre back or in midfield, has been one of West Ham's most consistent players this season, earning rave reviews and comparisons with former club great Bobby Moore.

"I'm never keen to say that "this player is the number one, and that's it", and "this player in that position is our number one choice" because you've always got to have competition for places".

The squad also include Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton who has been recalled after recovering from injury and regaining his place in the Clarets team.

On the other hand defender Keane is now part of the squad and the England manager says former Republic youth global Jack Grealish could be part of his plans down the line.

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"We like his character, his leadership qualities and he can play as a holding midfielder or a defender".

The Three Lions kick off Group A against the Czech Republic at Wembley next Friday before heading to Podgorica to take on Montenegro.

"We have had players eligible for us who have been with us at under-16s and other countries have given them senior caps very early", Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live.

On Rashford: "He wants to be the best player in the world and will dedicate himself to that".

On Pickford: "You can look across the squad and say they have had moments where they played well and moments not so well. His performances with us have been excellent".

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"But, we're pleased with what Jordan's done and we've got to help him through what was hopefully a blip at the weekend".

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