Responding to that comment, Pitt-Brooke wrote: “Haha – don’t disagree.
“Eric Dier 2.0 is exactly right.”
This seems harsh on Rice, to be honest. Firstly, there is no denying that he had a poor game on Friday. He looked a shadow of the player that we have seen at times for West Ham this season, and he certainly wasn’t at his best. But everybody has bad days at the office, and none of his teammates exactly covered themselves in glory either. Moreover, you can’t help feeling that Rice was partially a victim of a system that for some unknown reason insisted on relying on both him and and a deep-lying Jordan Henderson against a very beatable opposition. Why Southgate didn’t choose to hook one of them at half-time is anybody’s guess, but his caution didn’t reflect well on Rice, who is always going to stick to the very specific defensive brief he is given. Furthermore, nobody can deny Rice’s quality. So far this season, he has averaged a pass completion rate of 89.5%, as well as 3.8 tackles per game and 2.3 interceptions, as per Whoscored. Friday wasn’t his finest hour, sure, but it seems a little sensationalist to start laying into the youngster just yet.