Declan Rice Hits Back at Pundit’s ‘Harsh’ Criticism Ahead of England Qualifiers

Declan Rice Hits Back at Pundit’s ‘Harsh’ Criticism Ahead of England Qualifiers

Declan Rice has labelled criticism he has received from TV pundits like Graeme Souness and Roy Keane as “harsh” ahead of England’s international fixture against Italy in Napoli.

The star midfielder has claimed that he has been so preoccupied with his own performance, the problems of West Ham United, and England’s next challenge that he now functions in a bubble.

“I don’t really know about anything that’s going on in the world at the minute,” he said, explaining that he has disconnected himself much of what has been reported in the media and online.

Still, the midfielder was reminded of Graeme Souness’ recent words on his play, that world class midfielders “are creative, chip in with goals, have got a defensive head at all times.”

The Scottish pundit went on to say that Rice has “just one of them.”

Rice’s Reaction to Pundit’s ‘Harsh’ Criticism


Despite his claims of disengagement, Rice was clearly unhappy with those words as well of some of the criticism he received from former Man United midfielder Roy Keane.

“It’s harsh,” says Rice. “I think it’s harsh because Souness doesn’t watch West Ham every week.”

“There’s loads of West Ham fans, 60,000 go every week, and see what I do,” he explained,  “So I think to say I’m only good at one of three is harsh.”

“Roy has said some glowing things about me in the past and sometimes said some things that I can improve on as well,” he added, “It’s one of those where you take it with a pinch of salt and try not to let it affect you that much.”

Before England’s Euro 2024 qualifier against Italy in Naples, Rice, 24, is aware that his particular efforts will be scrutinized for multiple reasons.

His club is in a relegation struggle, his contract expires at the end of next season, he has long been connected with a huge move, and he expressed a strong desire to play Champions League football at the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

Rice Firmly Focused on his Football


Given the uproar that these comments provoked, he has stated that he will not repeat them and that he is only focused on West Ham and England’s fortunes.

“There have probably been some games recently when I probably haven’t been at my best but there have been other games when I have been at my best. There has always been loads of talk around my name.

“But for me, now I’m here, it’s about these two fixtures for England and, of course, when I get back to West Ham, it’s about playing the best I can for the club to get us out of the relegation battle and win the Conference League. That would be a special moment for me and the club.”

How important  a European Conference League victory is for West Ham’s Rice is debatable, but an English victory at Diego Armando Maradona Stadium isno doubt important to the player given his words.

“The record in Italy hasn’t been good and since the Euros, this will be the fourth time we have played them and we haven’t won yet. If we can go out there and put on a performance and win it will be a great marker of where we are at.

“We’re in a hostile city, a hostile stadium and we’re ready to go. It’s going to be tough but after the World Cup, we genuinely believe we can beat anyone.”


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