JUST IN: Rice To Captain England Against Belgium

Rice To Captain England Against Belgium

To Captain Against

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Declan Rice admitted he was left “speechless” after being named England captain for Tuesday's against Belgium at Wembley.
The Arsenal midfielder will mark his 50th cap by leading 's side in their final outing before he names his 23- squad for on May 16.
“I'm speechless to be honest with you,” said Rice, while speaking on Monday ahead of the game. “I'm absolutely lost for words. When he [Southgate] said to me last night ‘you are going to be captain,' I gave him a hug, shook his hand and said ‘thank you very much.' I owe him a lot.

“Since I first came into the team, he has always made me feel at home. I always felt so comfortable playing under him. I've really grown in confidence so on my 50th cap, to walk out at Wembley in front of family, my friends, it is an absolute honour. I think you can see my face. I am speechless.
“I think I've grown so much as a player and a person since I first came into the group at 19. I was probably a bit of a nervous player when I first came into the England squad but as time has gone on, I've played more Premier League games, more games at higher levels, and big major tournaments.
“I think I've grown into it on the side. I've enjoyed every moment of it. Fifty caps is a pinch-me moment.”

Rice's elevation is in part due to a squad decimated by injury as Kyle Walker, Harry Maguire, Sam Johnstone became the latest trio to withdraw on Sunday.

, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Kieran Trippier are among the long list of absentees which has limited Southgate's options and the close proximity of the Euros to the Champions League final – just 13 days apart — could complicate the picture further at the end of the season.
“Our plan [this summer] is still to give players time psychologically to recover which is the biggest aspect at that time of the year,” said Southgate, who confirmed Ivan Toney is set to lead England's attack against Belgium in Kane's absence.

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