England boss Southgate says Rice's social media post won't affect team standing

Declan Rice in action for Ireland

Rice also sought to calm accusations that he should not represent England, saying that his voice proves his Englishness.

London-born Rice picked up three senior caps for the Republic in friendlies against Turkey, France and United States of America in 2018 but dropped out of their squad last Autumn ahead of a series of competitive fixtures in the newly-formed UEFA Nations League.

We're really excited. We've lost a lot of players but it's an opportunity for others.

"We knew from a couple of days ago that Marcus wouldn't be ready for tomorrow", Southgate said of Rashford.

"Throughout the age groups they've been very similar in their development".

"But sometimes, when the pool is smaller, which is going to be the case for England whilst I'm the England manager, then you have to be a bit more creative in the way you think and you have to approach things and solve the problem in a different way".

"I won't hesitate to start either of them".

'I think regardless of where the tournament is played, we want to be consistently reaching the latter stages of competitions and knocking on the door, ' he said. "I am from England", he told reporters after joining up with his new teammates at St George's Park.

London-born Rice won three worldwide caps for the Republic of Ireland during friendlies, but switched allegiance last month and declared himself eligible to play for England instead. In the end, players have got to have the quality to play in the shirt.

The Football Association will be writing to Rice - who issued a social media statement apologising on Tuesday - to remind him of his responsibilities, and Southgate added: "I don't think he can say any more than he's said". I've played there in the youth setup, but I had to make a decision that was best for me. Ideally you'd have them all playing regularly and ideally they'd have a certain number of games for their clubs, but I can't wait for that.

The FA has struggled to stop fans inserting "No surrender" between lyrics of the national anthem when "God Save the Queen" is played before England matches. Most people will have children of those kind of ages. Outside of that it was when he was 15 or 16 and engaged in conversation with friends. So I think our fans and our public will recognise that fact.

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