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No special treatment for Rice, insists Moyes

Filed: Friday, 27th April 2018
By: Staff Writer

David Moyes has defended his decision to publicly criticise teenager Declan Rice following his error in the 4-1 defeat at Arsenal last weekend.

The 19-year-old rookie, making only his 22nd Premier League appearance was castigated by the Scottish boss for failing to deal with a cross that led to the Gunners' second goal.

And despite the vast majority of supporters having subsequently accused Moyes of unfairly criticising the new Irish international, the manager insists that he was right to highlight the youngster's error - and, apparently, earlier faults too.

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"I thought we had done a good job last weekend against Arsenal," he told the Evening Standard.

"That changed in the last eight minutes. Young Declan Rice has done great for us, but I donít think we can hide the fact that he should have just headed the ball away for their second goal. Thatís football.

"If it was any player, I would have said the same thing. It doesnít matter whether youíre 19 or 29, the message has to be the same. Of course, we understand heís a young, developing player, but you cannot hide the facts and that was a poor decision he made.

"Declan knows what he did and heís had one or two incidents this season. To be fair, though, his form in general has been very good, heís steadied down so we hope it is a blip and that he wonít make a similar mistake again.

"The truth is there are very few 19-year-old central defenders in the Premier League - if any. One of the reasons is should a young defender make a mistake and it costs the team, it costs the manager as well - and, ultimately, points."

Rice was introduced to the first team earlier in the season following lengthy injuries to established first team defenders Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna. Meanwhile the Board also sold established central defender Jose Fonte to Dalian Yifang for £5million in February.

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