Declan Rice to captain England against Belgium on his 50th appearance

Declan Rice will enjoy a “pinch me” moment when he captains England on his 50th appearance for his country in Tuesday night’s friendly against Belgium.

The 25-year-old is set to start in midfield at Wembley to reach the milestone for his country.

“I think I have grown so much as a player and a person since I first came into the group at 19,” he said.

“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 big games, more games at major tournaments. I have enjoyed every moment.

“Fifty caps, it is a pinch me moment, it will be an honour. On my 50th cap, to walk out at Wembley in front of my family and friends, it is a great honour, I’m a bit speechless.”

England boss Gareth Southgate has had to contend with a number of injuries, both before he announced his squad and during the camp.

“It is an incredible number who are unavailable to us,” he said.

“I haven’t experienced that before, but it means there are opportunities for other people. It is increasingly difficult at international level.”

Southgate confirmed Jude Bellingham could play the whole game, having recovered from the cramp which forced him off against Brazil on Saturday.

Rice infamously made three senior appearances for the Republic of Ireland, before switching allegiance back to his country of birth.


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