England v Czech Republic: Go with gut instinct when choosing country, says Michael Keane

Declan Rice
Declan Rice made three non-competitive appearances for the Republic of Ireland before choosing to play for England

Players should "go with their instinct" when deciding which country to play for, England defender Michael Keane has told BBC Radio 5 Live.

The Everton centre-back played for the Republic of Ireland at youth level, as did West Ham's Declan Rice, who has now declared his allegiance to England.

Last week, manager Gareth Southgate declared that more than 50% of England under-16s have dual nationality.external-link

"You've got to go with where you feel like you belong," said Keane.

"I always thought I belonged with England and that's why I have always dreamed of playing for England.

"When I was at Ireland, I wasn't good enough to play for England at that time. I was only young and small and still developing. I had in the back of my head that hopefully one day I could play for England.

"I can't really give them too much advice; I think you have just got to go on your gut feeling. Obviously you have to see how you're performing week in week out and where you think you could end up in your career."

In-form Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka is one of those players with dual nationality who has yet to be given a senior cap by Southgate. DR Congo's manager Florent Ibenge told the Independentexternal-link that he wanted the 21-year-old to commit to them.

Meanwhile, Southampton keeper Angus Gunn, who has been previously been called up to Southgate's squad, could also play for Scotland. His father Bryan, a former goalkeeper, played for Scotland in the early 1990s.

England begin their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against the Czech Republic on Friday followed by a match in Montenegro next Monday.

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