DECLAN RICE looks certain to be a future England captain.
The midfielder, who is set to earn his 27th cap in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying clash with Hungary at Wembley, is West Ham skipper when Mark Noble is not playing.
And the 22-year-old will become the Hammers’ official club captain when long-serving Noble, 34, leaves at the end of the season.
Rice, who swapped the Republic of Ireland for England in 2019, was a key player at Euro 2020 and has taken his game to another level for David Moyes’ side this season.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate said: “I spoke to Declan when he was making the transfer from Ireland and we had seen things in him which we believed could be helpful to us as a country.
“You could tell his mentality was one where he wanted to learn and improve and test himself.
“He is a real sponge for tactical information and observations on his game and is desperate to be the best he can possibly be.
“Even though he is a young player, he has got tremendous leadership qualities, and he is captaining his club at an incredibly young age, so you can see all the signs of what might be possible.”
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Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden, 21, was brilliant in Saturday’s 5-0 win in Andorra and will be hoping for another run out against the Hungarians.
Southgate said: “I have a headache and commit a crime every time I pick a team.
“We have such strong competition for places. There were lots of players who did their confidence and reputation the world of good the other day and that’s pleasing.”
Harry Kane returns to face Hungary and will be hoping to add to his haul of 41 goals in 64 internationals – despite the fact he is yet to score for Tottenham in the Premier League this season.
Southgate added: “He scored a fabulous goal in Warsaw and clinically took his other two. What’s going on with his club is none of my business really.”