Former England international Chris Waddle and BBC commentator Ian Dennis have teamed up to criticise West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice.
The 20-year-old produced a sub-par performance – as did the whole team – as Gareth Southgate’s side were upset 2-1 by the Czech Republic on Friday night.
The BBC duo weren’t impressed: “The one player who has yet to feature in 2019 is Harry Winks,” Dennis told the Football Daily podcast [12/10; 08:15]. “If you’re going to play in that pivot role, you want a player who can be combative – and Harry Winks has that to his game – but also you want someone to carry the ball and then create. I don’t think Rice creates enough in that role.”
Waddle then chimed in: “I don’t think Rice does. It will be worth having a look at Harry Winks on Monday night.”
When it comes to England there seems to be a basic lack of understanding of what Rice’s role in the team is supposed to be. He’s not in there to create chances for the front players, he’s in the team to win the ball back and then give it to them for them to create something – that’s their job not his. When Dennis and Waddle are describing what Winks brings to the middle of the park, it suggests that he should be replacing Jordan Henderson in the England team, not Rice. Because it’s the Liverpool man who’s currently in the team to do the box-to-box role, not the Hammers star. If you look at the statistics then, yes, Rice didn’t create enough. As per WhoScored.com, the youngster failed to complete a key pass or have a shot, while he only embarked on one successful dribble. But that’s not what he’s in the team for! Southgate doesn’t pick him for his attacking or creative qualities, he picks him because he’s one of the Premier League’s finest midfield destroyers. It seems even Waddle doesn’t realise that.