Stephen Warnock shared that he thought West Ham midfielder Declan Rice was unlucky to give a penalty away during the 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace.
The Hammers midfield-enforcer gave a penalty away, which Patrick van Aanholt slotted home, in the 63rd minute after being deemed to have handled the ball.
Warnock shared he thought Rice was a bit unlucky and explained that he thought the 20-year-old’s hands were in the air as the midfielder himself believed he was further away from the ball and that his hands were more likely to be hit if they were down by his side.
“Yeah (he’s unlucky), I think he just gets a little bit lost in where he is,” said Warnock on Ref Watch (Sky Sports News, 11:35am, Monday, October 7th).
“When he goes up for the initial header then hits the ground, he’s a bit where am I? Where’s the guy? I actually think… I don’t know, this is just my thought, but I think he thinks he is a little bit further away and it’s because if your hands are by your side and it gets stuck at you…it’s a penalty.
“So he puts his hands up, thinking if it hits my body, I’m okay, I think he was just trying to get his hands away from his body.”
Warnock claims Rice would have given a penalty away if the ball had struck him when his hands were by his side, but that’s surely wrong? If the ball had struck his hands and they were in a natural position, then the referee wouldn’t have awarded a spot-kick. After all, Rice was too close to the ball to get out the way, so would have been given the benefit of the doubt. However, the 20-year-old’s arms were in a weird position way above his head, and a penalty seemed fair. In fact, former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher said as much on Sky Sports’ Ref Watch before Warnock shared his opinion, and given how many games he officiated it’s hard to question his opinion too much. So with that in mind, Rice shouldn’t worry about whether the decision to award a penalty against him was correct, and instead just focus on not making a similar mistake when he returns to action for Manuel Pellegrini’s side after the international break. The 20-year-old has been a vital part of the Hammers’ first-team this season as not only has he averaged an impressive rating of 7.05 on WhoScored across his eight league outings, but he has clearly been a reason why the Hammers have been defensively strong given that he has averaged 3.8 tackles and 2.3 interceptions per game.