Declan Rice: England are a ‘really entertaining team to watch’

Three Lions have at times been criticised for their style of play under coach Gareth Southgate

Alex Pattle
Wednesday 31 March 2021 10:00
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England and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice with national team coach Gareth Southgate
England and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice with national team coach Gareth Southgate

England midfielder Declan Rice has insisted that Gareth Southgate’s team are “really entertaining to watch” despite some criticism of their playing style.

England thrashed San Marino 5-0 last week in the opening game of their World Cup qualifying campaign before seeing off Albania 2-0, though some observers believe that the Three Lions are at times too cautious and have yet to hit top gear ahead of this summer’s rescheduled Euros.

Southgate’s side take on Poland this evening in their final World Cup qualifier of the international break, but they won’t be going out of their way to dispel the notion that they are not a positive enough side, according to 22-year-old Rice.

“I think in Gareth’s mind you can’t go too attacking,” the West Ham midfielder said. “You can’t go all out all the time, because the opposition have got quality and can hurt you.

“There is a lot of talk around not needing two holding midfielders, why not play six attackers? I kind of understand why the manager sometimes doesn’t do that. There has to be that balance between the two.

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“We have control of the ball, we try to move the ball really quickly, try to shift the teams from side to side and then look for openings.

“I think we are a really entertaining team to watch. I think people complain all the time and say that we are not, but I think we have really improved as a group over the past couple of years.”

England currently sit atop their World Cup qualifying group with six points, while Poland are in second place on four points.

Hungary are third, also on four points, ahead of fourth-placed Albania (three points) and pointless Andorra and San Marino – fifth and sixth in the group, respectively.

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