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Thursday 21
March

West Ham United

Cole asks for Rice backing

13th March 2019, 15:41 by Jack Ogalbe

Former West Ham star Joe Cole has backed Declan Rice to thrive on the international stage with England.

The 20-year-old received his maiden call-up to the Three Lions squad on Wednesday and will be part of Gareth Southgate's plans for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

However, his inclusion has not come without controversy, having previously played three times for the Republic of Ireland, the country of his grandparents, and earlier this week winning the Irish Young Player of the Year award.

Those caps all came in international friendlies, meaning Rice could still choose to represent the country of his birth and his announcement last month was met with a mixed reaction across the Irish Sea.

Cole believes the time is right to move on and is backing the young Hammer to prove he made the right call by becoming an England regular.

"Judging on his performances for West Ham, he's been a revelation," Cole told Goal. "So he's got every chance of making that position his own.

"He's made his decision, let's put it to bed and let the kid develop as a player. That needs to be the message from everyone involved.

"His contract talks went on longer than they should have done. Now it's settled, let the kid develop and play his football. He's a lovely lad from a lovely family. Just let him play."

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Jack Ogalbe has been working for the team since his student days, having enjoyed a successful placement. He is an avid West Ham fan but also enjoys writing on rugby union, golf, tennis and cycling.

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