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Gareth Southgate has officially announced that Declan Rice will take on the role of captain for England in Tuesday night’s friendly against Belgium at Wembley.

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Rice, who is set to earn his 50th senior cap for the Three Lions, will lead the team in the absence of regular captain Harry Kane. Kane withdrew from the squad due to a hamstring injury, and his stand-in, Kyle Walker, also sustained a hamstring problem during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Brazil.

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With Walker sidelined, the captain’s armband passed to Harry Maguire when he left the field. However, Maguire has since withdrawn from the squad due to injury.

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During a press conference on Monday, Southgate confirmed Rice as the chosen captain to lead England against Belgium.

Rice expressed his gratitude, saying, “I’m speechless, to be honest with you. I’m absolutely lost for words. I think when he [Southgate] said to me last night I was going to be captain, I gave him a hug, shook his hand and said, ‘thank you very much’.”

Reflecting on his journey with the England team, Rice remarked, “I think I’ve grown so much as a player and a person since I’ve come into the group at 19. I was probably a bit of a nervous player when I first came into the England squad.”

With anticipation building for his milestone 50th cap, Rice added, “50 caps is a ‘pinch me’ moment. It’s going to be an honour tomorrow night, and I’m really looking forward to it.”

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