England: Keane tears into ‘delicate’ Arsenal star over Euro 2024 rant: ‘I judge players by actions’

Joe Williams
Roy Keane on Man Utd
Roy Keane during his role as a television pundit.

Roy Keane has criticised “delicate” Arsenal star Declan Rice for demanding positivity from pundits and fans watching England in the Euro 2024 group stage.

Despite failing to fully impress once again in a disappointing 0-0 draw against Slovenia, another blank between Denmark and Serbia in Munich meant Southgate’s men finished on top of Group C with five points from three games.

England have faced criticism from pundits and supporters for their lethargic performances at Euro 2024 with Southgate also criticised for his tactics and selection decisions.

After their 1-1 draw with Denmark last week, Rice came out to defend his team-mates and accuse the media of an overly negative reaction to their draw.

Rice told reporters: “We’re talking like we’re going out of the tournament here. We’re top of the group, we need to stay positive, stay upbeat. Let’s have some positivity going into games.

“Let’s give players the best confidence in the world. Players like Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham, tell them they’re the best players in the world.

“Make them read that and think ‘I’m going to go out there and perform and give it absolutely everything’, rather than reading the negative comments sitting on their mind and then thinking that they can’t play a certain way.

“That’s the way I think about it. And I’m sure we have enough of them people as well which is good.”

But former Manchester United captain Keane accused Rice – who was labelled “overrated” by former Republic of Ireland international James McClean earlier in the tournament – and modern players being a bit more “delicate” than when he was still playing, while he insists they will get the “love back” when they start putting in good displays.

Keane said before the match against Slovenia: “The modern player seems to be a bit more delicate to criticism.

“I know there’s more of it because of social media particularly, but again these players… I judge players by actions.

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“And we know how quickly football changes. If England put on a good performance or win tonight. Declan Rice is talking about, ‘show some love’. Listen, come on, it’s serious stuff. This is football stuff. People have made huge sacrifices to travel.

“You get the love back when you perform. We all played at a decent level and when things are going great people are patting you on the back, but the reality is if you’re not performing you get criticised.”