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23rd Jun 2024

“Who is he?” – Big Sam unimpressed by James McClean’s criticism of Declan Rice

Ronan Calvert

Sam Allardyce James McClean

Sam Allardyce has had a pop at James McClean.

Big Sam has reacted to James McClean’s claims that England midfielder Declan Rice is “overrated”.

Speaking on the RTÉ panel during their EUROS coverage, McClean said “For me, he’s not world class.

“To me, world class is someone who gets in every side in the world.

“I just don’t think he does that. He’s good at what he does. He sees danger and puts out fires.

“But for the hype that surrounds him, I don’t think it’s justified.”

This has not gone down well across the pond. Like, at all.

One person particularly unhappy was Sam Allardyce, who was speaking on his jarring ‘No Tippy Tappy Football’ podcast with Kevin Nolan.

Who is Nolan? He used to play in midfield under Sam at Bolton Wanderers and West Ham.

Who is James McClean?

The segment began when the presenter put it to Allardyce and Nolan that “James McClean has said Declan Rice is overrated”.

“Well, James McClean, I mean, come on, do me a favour”, muttered Nolan, before Allardyce chirped in to add “Who is he?”.

“Who is he? James McClean? Who is he?”

Once done chuckling at his own comments, Sam elaborated to suggest Rice’s club manager Mikel Arteta would have a different view than McClean.

“Ask Mikel Arteta, what he’s done for Arsenal last year.”

“Knowing Dec, that would have just made him laugh,” added Nolan.

Nolan admitted that Rice “didn’t have his best game in an England jersey”, but the two men agreed that nobody had their best game in that poor 1-1 draw against Denmark.

“That’s one (bad game) in about…I reckon 60,” said Nolan.

“He’s had one bad game in sixty for England.”

“I’ve thought he’s been brilliant every time I’ve watched him”

He will need to be brilliant on Tuesday against Slovenia to turn England’s form around.

The aforementioned draw with Denamark left a sour taste in English mouths and post-match comments from Rice and his manager Gareth Southgate suggest all is not well in the England camp.

Rice queried whether England players put “too much pressure” on themselves, while Southgate bemoaned his forwards’ inability to press properly and said his midfield is lacking “a Kalvin Phillips”.

Phillips was not an option for this tournament having barely played for Manchester City after joining them from Leeds United.

Instead, Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold has been shoehorned into midfield to play beside Rice – an experiment which has had pretty abysmal results to date.

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