Mark Noble has made it clear to Declan Rice that even when things were going well “it wouldn’t always be sweetness and light and that there would be low points and challenges ahead.”
The Hammers defensive midfielder has found himself regularly in the headlines for the wrong reasons of late but the Hammers skipper is regularly alongside him talking the young man through his troubles.
The handball against Crystal Palace which led to the penalty in the 1-2 defeat and his criticism from fans over his England performances are the sort of setbacks he is having to endure.
But Nobes has been making sure that it doesn’t get to the 20 year old who has little but praise throughout his meteoric rise to the top.
On top of that has come a virus which kept him out of the drubbing of Bulgaria at a time when he probably needed to keep playing his way back into form.
Writing in his Evening Standard column @ https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/mark-noble-if-i-had-been-england-captain-i-would-have-taken-players-off-a4265156.html he said: “Even when it was going so well for Declan, I warned him it wouldn’t always be sweetness and light and that there would be low points and challenges ahead.
Two of those came recently, with his handball against Crystal Palace, which got them back into the game from the penalty spot, followed by the England defeat against the Czech Republic and the criticism for him and others which followed.
I spoke to him on the phone the day after the Czech Republic game and even then he wasn’t feeling well.
I also said to him that it’s inevitable, especially with the publicity he’s had, that when things don’t go well, some people can’t wait to shoot you down.
You’re up there on that pedestal and they’re thinking: “Come on, then, make a mistake and we can topple you.”
That’s football. There were times last season when everything he touched turned to gold, but it can’t stay that way. Declan will be fine, he’ll learn from this and I said to him:
“This is probably the best thing that can happen to you at this stage in your career because now you know it’s not always a fairy tale.”