Arsenal star ‘unrecognisable’ at Euro 2024 as Petit reveals England’s ‘most worrying’ problem

Lewis Oldham
Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka, Cole Palmer and Phil Foden during a match
Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka, Cole Palmer and Phil Foden during a match.

Emmanuel Petit has hit out at England head coach Gareth Southgate over his use of Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice at Euro 2024.

The former West Ham star shone for Arsenal following his £100m move to the Premier League giants last summer and was one of the signings of the season.

Rice was operated in a No.8 role during the Premier League run-in and this looks to be his position moving forward as head coach Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu scour the market for a new defensive midfielder.

However, Rice has been used as a defensive midfielder by Southgate at Euro 2024 and has been unable to dominate games as he’s proven he can for Arsenal in the Premier League.

Rice is expected to start alongside Manchester United’s Kobbie Mainoo against Switzerland in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 on Saturday as Southgate switches to three at the back.

READ: No Foden, Saka, Walker in England v Switzerland combined XI as Xhaka, Rice finally link up

Petit claims Rice has been “unrecognisable” at Euro 2024 and has revealed what “worries him the most” about Southgate’s side.

“I don’t recognise Declan Rice playing for England as he isn’t playing the same position as he does for Arsenal,” Petit said.

“I really like when Declan Rice plays as a box-to-box player as he can support the strikers and be close to the penalty area, shooting from outside the box.

“The fact he is playing as a holding midfielder doesn’t make sense to me, he can’t play there.

“You are only getting around 60% of his quality by doing so. I think the lack of confidence is not helping him.”

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He added: “Declan Rice is not playing in the same environment he has at his club. Arteta and Arsenal have a very clear DNA on the pitch and this isn’t the case with the National team.

“You can see they are struggling as a team, so I am not surprised Rice hasn’t been able to give his best so far for England in that position.

‌”I watched the last game and the midfield has been trouble. There are a lot of players in the team that are so far away from their usual level and a lot of players look exhausted.

‌”You can change whatever you want, tactically, the spine, everything – but a lot of players look exhausted mentally and physically. That worries me most for England.”