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22nd Jun 2024

Declan Rice fears England players put too much pressure on themselves

Ronan Calvert

Declan Rice

Declan Rice and England are having a rough EURO 2024

When Declan Rice swapped Ireland for England in 2019, he dreamt of European Championship joy and World Cup glory.

What he didn’t dream of was scraping past Serbia 1-0…or drawing with Denmark in one of the most dysfunctional and unconvincing England tournament performances we have ever seen.

Nor did he dream of being the poorest player on the pitch in a European Championships game.

And he probably wasn’t dreaming of being called “overrated” on Irish television by James McClean either.

You know, sometimes you’d wonder how Ricey sleeps at night at all – knowing in recent years he has missed out on famous wins against Gibraltar, narrow defeats to European heavyweights and managerless international friendlies.

It’s a lot to surrender.

Declan Rice on England pressure

The good news for him and England is that there is still time to salvage something from EURO 2024.

Things aren’t looking promising, but a result against Slovenia next week will be enough to see them through to the knockout stages.

They certainly have the quality to do just that and although Gareth Southgate’s team selections have left a lot to be desired, they should still get the job done.

That’s if they don’t “put too much pressure” on themselves.

“I think we are all so desperate to do the country proud,” said Rice looking ahead to Tuesday’s Slovenia fixture.

“We are all so desperate to win, to be leaders, to go out there and give people memories for lifetimes.

“Sometimes I maybe feel like we put too much pressure on ourselves where we could just go out there and let it just take care of ourselves.

“But look – two games, one win, one draw. And now we go into that last game.

“Our objective is always to qualify and I’m sure we can still do that,” he said.

“Look, we know we can be better, for sure, in and out of possession and there is lots to improve on which is a positive in a way.

“We’ll be fine, we’ll recover well, and we’ve got one more to go.”

All doesn’t appear to be right in the England camp, with these quotes adding to Southgate’s comments about the team’s inability to press effectively.

That criticism appeared to be levelled towards England’s forward players, but the manager is also clearly unimpressed by his team’s midfield performance, saying they have failed to find a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips.

Serbia took a stranglehold of proceedings in the second half of England’s opening game, then Denmark dominated for the majority of Thursday’s encounter in Frankfurt.

Passes that would usually spray forward only went backwards, a defence usually well shielded was exposed to the Danish attack.

So much for rice working well in a pressure cooker.

So much for football coming home?

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