Particularly not for a young lad who never dreamed of being in this position.
Rice was born and raised in London, but played for Ireland from the U-16 level all the way through the senior team, his eligibility coming from his Irish-born grandparents.
The Football Association of Ireland confirmed that Rice had opted to purse his worldwide career with England.
"I fully accept that some Irish supporters will be disappointed by my decision, and that everyone has different opinions in regard to the rules around worldwide representation", Rice said.
This has been an extremely hard decision and, in all honestly, not one I ever expected to be making at this stage of my career.
Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy spoke about the news in a press conference, saying: "Declan rang me today and said he has chose to give it a go with England". However, I hope that people can understand that I have made this decision with honesty, integrity and the full support of my family.
My pride at wearing the Irish shirt was always 100% genuine.
However, England approached Rice last summer and the West Ham star subsequently made himself unavailable for Ireland in order to consider his options. "Good luck to him", McCarthy said.
The switch of allegiances represents a devastating blow to the future of Irish football, with Rice widely regarded as one of the best players of his age in the world.
The news comes a setback for McCarthy, who returned for his second spell as Ireland manager after the departure of O'Neill in November.
Rice had spent months deliberating on his decision with his family, girlfriend and friends as his stock has risen at West Ham, where he has made 27 appearances this season.