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West Ham defender Rice gets first Ireland call-up days after making Premier League debut

Meanwhile, Cork City goalkeepers Mark McNulty and Alan Smith will also join up for this week’s training camp at Fota Island.

Rice captaining West Ham's U21s.
Rice captaining West Ham's U21s.
Image: EMPICS Sport

WHAT A WEEK it has been for Declan Rice.

On Sunday, the 18-year-old defender made his first-team debut for West Ham — coming on as a 91st-minute substitute in a 2-1 win over Burnley.

Rice is looked upon as one for the future by the Hammers, and penned a new three-and-a-half year deal with the club back in March.

Now, the teenager, who is comfortable in defence and midfield, has been called up to Ireland’s senior squad for the first time.

The FAI revealed on Instagram that he is the latest addition to Martin O’Neill’s panel, following on from yesterday’s news that Preston North End midfielder Alan Browne has also been included.

London-born Rice, who qualifies for the Boys in Green through his grandparents, is the current Ireland U17 Player of the Year and also recently starred for the U19s in the Uefa Elite qualifying round.

A selection of the Ireland squad train at Fota Island this week before heading to New Jersey to play Mexico on June 1. Then there’s a friendly with Uruguay in Dublin three days later, before the World Cup qualifier against Austria at the Aviva Stadium on 11 June.

Cork City goalkeepers Mark McNulty and Alan Smith are among the 19 players involved in the training camp in Cork.

Ireland squad for Fota Island training camp

Goalkeepers: Mark McNulty, Alan Smith (both Cork City)

Defenders: Cyrus Christie, Alex Pearce, Richard Keogh (all Derby County), Shane Duffy (Brighton & Hove Albion), Andy Boyle (Preston North End), Kevin Long (Burnley) Declan Rice (West Ham United), John Egan (Brentford)

Midfielders: Eunan O’Kane (Leeds United), Alan Browne, Daryl Horgan (Preston North End), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), Wes Hoolahan (Norwich City), Stephen Gleeson (Birmingham City), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City)

Forwards: David McGoldrick (Ipswich Town), Daryl Murphy (Newcastle United)

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