Liverpool legend Gerrard hits back at Rice critics after ‘fantastic display’ for England

Ben Stewart
Steven Gerrard ahead of the UEFA Euro 2024 Group C qualifying match at Wembley Stadium, London

Steven Gerrard thinks that Declan Rice responded brilliantly to his critics with a superb performance for England while on international duty.

The West Ham midfielder has come under fire recently from several pundits who have questioned his skillset.

The Hammers have had a tough season so far as they currently sit 18th in the Premier League and are well in a relegation battle.

Rice’s future has been up in the air for quite some time now and Gerrard was left impressed with his showing against Italy.

“It was a fantastic display [vs Italy] and he’s had a little bit of criticism of late,” the Liverpool legend told Channel 4.

“Certain people have questioned certain things that he does. He’s a specialist in there. He’s a holding midfielder who’s got great legs, great energy.

“He can burst forward, he can see a pass. We can see that he can get on the scoresheet. It was the perfect way to answer any criticism.

“To go away to Italy, a really tough game – get man of the match, be dominant and help your team get over the line, which he did.”

Rice has started in all 26 of West Ham’s Premier League matches this season and he will have a crucial role to play in keeping them up.

Graeme Souness in particular has been one pundit who has gone in on Rice recently after claiming he needs to offer more on the half-turn.

‘He needs to get on the half-turn more when he receives the ball from his defenders and play it forward more, and not be content with going back to where it came from and square with his passes,’ Souness wrote in his Daily Mail column.

‘And he needs to chip in with more goals. He has scored twice in the Premier League this season in 26 games and it’s not enough.

‘Now Rice has said his piece, too. He thinks that my criticism is ‘harsh’ and that I don’t see him play every week. That’s true. But I have seen him enough, for West Ham and for England.

‘I watched the game against Italy and the same things were on show. Any world-class midfield player is on the half-turn most of the time and looking to play forwards.

‘How many times did Rice do that in Naples? Not nearly enough for me. Get some videos of Kroos and Modric playing in their midfield roles for Real Madrid. Or go back a few years and watch Paul Scholes.’

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