Date: 15th March 2019 at 3:02pm
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West Ham United captain Mark Noble has tipped Hammers starlet Declan Rice to have a long England career after his first call-up this week.

The 20-year-old was given the honour by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate recently having turned heads with a phenomenal breakout season in claret and blue.

Noble has had his say: “Declan Rice’s call-up for England’s next two Euro qualifiers has delighted us all here,” he wrote in his column for the Evening Standard. “It would have been a big surprise had Gareth Southgate not picked Declan and I am sure that, should he hopefully steer clear of injuries, he is on the threshold of a long international career.

“Declan’s only 20 — younger than the great Bobby Moore was when he made his senior international debut — but there is no chance he will freeze or be starstruck. It’s been an upward curve for Declan this season and he’s broken into the England squad when they’re also going the right way. The best compliment I can pay Declan is that he may be a 20-year-old kid but he has a 30-year-old’s head on his shoulders.”

OPINION

At this stage you would be very surprised if Rice isn’t a fixture of the England set-up for years to come. He is just 20 years of age and has so much ability, plus he seems to have his head screwed on correctly. It’s not a given that he’ll go on to pick up loads of caps, and obviously injuries will play a part in that, but he seems extremely well placed at this moment in time. He has been tremendous for West Ham this season and his versatility, he can play at centre back as well as central midfield, makes him a valuable asset to Southgate. We know that the England boss likes young, talented players and Rice is most certainly that. It will be interesting to see how much football he gets over these two games, because they’re obviously competitive fixtures. It’s not a given that he will be given a run out like he would if they were friendlies. Hopefully he does play some part, though, because he deserves it for his performances this season.