ITK Ex on Declan’s Montenegro display


Top ITK EXWHUemployee writes exclusively in ClaretandHugh on how he rated  Declan Rice’s performance against Montenegro and includes an invitation to what looks an excellent pre-match event ahead of the Everton game on Saturday evening


Following Declan Rice’s first start for England I felt compelled to write about how I felt he got on and how he has handled recent events in his short career.

Whilst the majority of people could see that it was a very assured performance and he did probably everything that was asked of him by Southgate, a few people were criticizing his game.

I find this baffling and it lead me to asking whether they had watched the game or whether there was a hidden bias to their opinions. Yes, there are things Declan could have done that perhaps he didn’t and I have seen him have even better games than this but this is only because he has set the benchmark so high.

Yesterday, he still delivered a brilliant performance.

By trade a defensive midfielder’s job is to break up the play by tackling or intercepting retrieve the ball and give it to the more creative midfielders/wingers in the team and his match stats suggest this is exactly what he did.

Some argued he could have been more creative and I am sure he can be but when the team is playing away in tough conditions he was more than likely instructed to be defensive and give the attacking players their chance to create. We won the game 5-1 away against decent opposition so by that stat alone it is fair to say he did his job well.

It seems like it is going to be a long time before Declan will shake all this talk of his time at Ireland and once more the recent media attention puts a lot of pressure on a young and down to earth lad’s shoulders.

What makes this harder is that the decision to choose between his grandparent’s nation and his parents and country of birth was one that he didn’t take lightly. As he is stated I am sure that he was very proud to represent Ireland and is now equally as proud to represent England. It is a shame that he will be made to feel like he shouldn’t be proud of his Irish career.

I just hope that as the months go by he will be judged on his football and that alone. This football ability has already shown clear signs that in a few year’s time, don’t forget his only 20, we will be talking about a genuine World Class player.

This weekend we are delighted to welcome Mad Dog Martin Allen and Kenny Brown Jnr to our prematch event hosted by Mark Ward. The event starts at 1:30pm and finishes at 4:30pm and is just two stops by Tube from Stratford.

You can drink as much as you want for that price, meet and have photos with the players, watch classic West Ham footage and listen to match day tunes too. These events have created many solid groups of friends and really should not be missed. Please get your tickets here: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/thewesthamwayevents/248181

About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

2 comments on “ITK Ex on Declan’s Montenegro display

  1. Yes, I was surprised and disappointed to see Dec get the lowest score on the BBC viewers’ ratings of the team. He lost a couple of balls but got them back and was assured throughout. He certainly didn’t lose more than Dier or Tripper do in the average game and to give him less marks than the pretty much untroubled Pickford and the late sub Wilson is a head scratcher. I can only assume there’s a tendency to penalise a midfielder if he’s not getting stuck-in to tackles and driving forward. However, Dec’s positional sense and the way he calmly mopped-up and passed the ball quickly rather than attract a 50/50 i a dangerous area seems to me exactly what Gareth would have wanted and I gave him 8/10 – though one of those was cos he’s an Iron 😉

  2. I didn’t think Dec played badly however I’ve seen him play a lot better for West Ham. It didn’t help that his best two tackles during the game were winning the ball back when he’d been the one who’d given it away in the first place. I agree with those who say he could have been more creative too. Harry Kane was saying recently was that what he liked about Rice was that his first thought was always to play the ball forward. Let’s be honest though in this game for England most of Declan’s passes were safe sideways or backwards passes, but this was Declan’s first start at this level so we can’t be too critical. I think he will continue to develop the more creative side of his game and grow in confidence the more he plays for England.

Comments are closed.