Declan Rice to captain England on 50th cap

Declan Rice during the English national anthem

Declan Rice will mark his 50th appearance for England by wearing the captain's armband when he takes to the field to face Belgium on Tuesday night.

The news was confirmed by Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate ahead of the friendly at Wembley Stadium, on what is England's final game before Southgate names his squad for Euro 2024.

Declan, who played all 90 minutes of Saturday's 1-0 defeat to Brazil, will lead his nation for the first time on his half-century, having making his debut against Macedonia almost exactly five years to the day he'll win cap 50.

Reflecting on his latest career achievement, Declan said: "I'm speechless to be honest with you, absolutely lost for words. I think when [Southgate] told me last night I was 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's always made me feel at home, I always felt so comfortable playing under him. I've really grown in confidence. 

“50 caps 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, is a great honour.

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

Southgate added: "He has great leadership experience already at a tender age. I think it's a brilliant opportunity for some of our young players to show leadership. Some of our core group are not with us, so there's a different feel about the group and that's a great opportunity for other people to step up, to lead, to grow.

"A lot of the players involved are the future of the team for the mid and long-term, and the more of those experiences they can have is useful for everybody."

Declan will become the 10th Arsenal player to captain England, and our first since Sol Campbell had the honour in a friendly against the USA back in May 2005.

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