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FIFA approves Declan Rice switch for Ireland to England

West Ham's Declan Rice controls the ball during the English Premier League soccer match between West Ham and Fulham at the London Stadium in London, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LONDON (AP) — FIFA has approved defensive midfielder Declan Rice switching his international allegiance from Ireland to England.

With Irish heritage but born in London, the 20-year-old Rice has said he considers himself “to be of mixed nationality.”

The West Ham player last month ended months of uncertainty over which national team he would commit to by announcing his plans to play for England.

Rice has played three times for Ireland, but only in friendlies rather than competitive games. That allows for the nationality switch.

FIFA told The Associated Press on Tuesday that “the change of association has been approved.”

England reached the semifinals at last year’s World Cup and will play in the UEFA Nations League final four in June.

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