England boss Southgate says Rice's social media post won't affect team standing

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Gareth Southgate said he will not hesitate to start Jadon Sancho or Callum Hudson-Odoi in England's upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers after confirming that Marcus Rashford has withdrawn from the squad due to injury.

The emergence of new talent, not least from the young England sides winning global tournaments, is a reason why Southgate wanted to remain with the team after the World Cup.

But after those comments resurfaced on the eve of his potential debut for the Three Lions, Rice took to Instagram and posted a statement to apologize.

"I recognise now that my attempt to show support for my team-mates at the time could be negatively interpreted".

Rice was forced to apologise on Thursday for a social media post from 2015 which carried connotations of support for the IRA, stating that his "naive words were not meant to be a political opinion and do not represent who I am".

The West Ham player was granted approval by Federation Internationale de Football Association earlier this month to change his global affiliation to England, his country of birth, after playing three friendly games for Ireland. "It's good for England because I can see in a few years we are going to have big, big players", he said.

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The England manager, who has lost defender John Stones among his injured players, is minded to start with Everton's Michael Keane alongside Harry Maguire in the centre of his defence. When I first came in this week we had a bit of banter. I'm sure Phil Foden will play tonight.

London-born Rice picked up three senior caps for the Republic in friendlies against Turkey, France and U.S. in 2018 but dropped out of their squad last Autumn ahead of a series of competitive fixtures in the newly-formed UEFA Nations League. Ideally you'd have them all playing regularly and ideally they'd have a certain number of games for their clubs, but I can't wait for that.

"We've probably said things, written things that would look different several years later".

"This was when he was 15 or 16 when he was engaged in a social conversation with friends", said Southgate, who hadn't spoken to Rice about the posts.

"I think people understand; most people will have children of those sorts of ages and people are still maturing at that age. Our fans or our public will understand that fact".

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