Declan Rice has been named FAI Young Player of the Year on the eve of his maiden England call-up.

Having come on leaps and bounds at West Ham this season, the 20-year-old decided after much deliberation to switch allegiance from the country he represented at both youth and senior levels.

Rice, who was born in London and has Irish grandparents, considers himself "to be of mixed nationality" and last week saw his switch to England ratified by FIFA as his three senior caps for the Republic came in friendlies.

It is understood the 20-year-old will be immediately drafted into the Three Lions set-up, with the defensive midfielder to be included in Gareth Southgate's squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro.

Rice's switch has sparked debate and the Football Association of Ireland put him further in the spotlight by announcing him as Young Player of the Year less than 24 hours before England's squad announcement on Wednesday afternoon.

The West Ham midfielder earned three senior international caps for Ireland in 2018, appearing in friendlies against Turkey, France and USA. 

He subsequently opted out of the squad ahead of the competitive Nations League fixtures in the autumn and, following a protracted saga, finally announced intention to declare for England last month. 

Despite this, his performances in a green shirt in 2018 saw him earn enough votes to claim the Young Player of the Year award for 2018. 

While the rest of the winners will be announced on the night, the FAI released a statement this afternoon saying Rice had won in the young player category. 

The FAI noted that the award was voted on by members of the SSE Airtricity Soccer Writers' Association of Ireland and pointed out that at the time of said vote, Rice was still an Irish international. 

In the statement, the FAI said this outcome "maintains the integrity of the voting process." They confirmed that Rice would not be in Dublin to collect his award.

"At the time of the vote, Declan Rice was an Ireland international and qualified for the Young Player category in a year that saw him win three senior caps, all in '3' International Friendly games.

"Declan Rice has since opted to switch his allegiance to England. The FAI has completed his international transfer via the FIFA protocols and wishes him well in the future.

"This award maintains the integrity of the voting process in conjunction with the Soccer Writers’ Association of Ireland and the FAI thanks the jury members for their decisions relating to the awards.

"Declan Rice will not be in Dublin for the '3' FAI International Awards ceremony."

The ceremony will be broadcast live on RTÉ2 on Sunday 17 March at 8.30pm.