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Rice Could Be Vital England Cog In Euro 2020

Filed: Thursday, 28th March 2019
By: Staff Writer #3

Declan Rice made his controversial debut for England during their 5-0 hammering of the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium. Rice replaced Dele Alli for the final 27 minutes of the contest, helping the Three Lions put the gloss on an emphatic victory in their opening Euro 2020 qualifier.

The 20-year-old initially declared his allegiance to the Republic of Ireland through his Irish grandparents, and he made three appearances under Martin OíNeillís tenure. However, his performances for West Ham in the Premier League caught the attention of Gareth Southgate. In a new regime of giving young players an opportunity at the highest level, Southgate was able to lure Rice back to the country of his berth after earning the approval of FIFA.

Rice now has the challenge of building on his debut for the Three Lions. With 16 months to go before Euro 2020, he has time to forge a permanent place in the side. England are developing a squad of talented young players for an assault on the tournament. Southgateís men reached the last four of the World Cup, but will have their sights set on winning the European Championship crown, being backed in the latest international betting odds at 6/1 to claim the title.

The Hammers midfielder could be an integral part of their success should he continue on his trajectory. He has already impressed two managers in the form of David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini at club level. Rice has displayed a keen eye for a pass along with boasting a combative nature in the middle of the park. His range and awareness is rare for a player of his age and will only improve with further experience in the Premier League. The Hammers have boasted quality in their midfield this term and for Rice to become a regular speaks volumes about his level of talent.

Englandís downfall in the World Cup against Croatia in their semi-final defeat was their inability to break up play in the second half. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic were able control proceedings, running Jordan Henderson among others ragged in the midfield. Jesse Lingard and Alli were the other two midfielders alongside Henderson and neither were able to make an impact. Eric Dier was the alternative to Henderson, but has failed to impose himself at the highest level after being the Three Lionsí only bright spot in their Euro 2016 campaign.

Southgate was crying out for a mobile midfielder to earn back possession for his team as well as displaying the ability to manoeuvre the ball downfield. England are developing talented players in the final third behind Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane. Jadon Sancho and Callum Hudson-Odoi flashed their potential to add to the growing list of options available. However, those players are only useful if theyíre able to get their foot on the ball. Rice not only can win possession, but he can disseminate the ball in tight quarters and with range further down the pitch, allowing England to move forward with speed.

The 20-year-old is far from the complete package at the moment. However, heís one of a number of fledgling talents that England can afford to feel excited about heading into a major tournament next year pending their qualification.

Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.

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