Former Ireland and Manchester United captain Roy Keane did not hold back in his assessment of England midfielder Declan Rice, explaining that the West Ham man has many areas of his game he must improve in.
Rice broke into the English starting XI earlier this year, almost immediately after his highly-documented international transfer from Ireland.
The 20-year-old had spent the last couple of qualifiers on the bench but was restored to the team for England’s 4-0 win against Kosovo on Sunday night.
Keane had worked with Rice during the former Irish assistant manager’s spell in the national side’s dugout and feels as though the Hammers youngster has a significant number of areas he must improve in.
Speaking during ITV’s coverage of England’s win on Sunday night, Keane outlined that he feels Rice is a player who has almost ‘played his way out’ of the Three Lions’ starting XI.
“When you think about him, over the last few months he’s had a lot of praise,” he began . “I’ve looked at him pretty closely, I’ve worked with him when he was with the Irish squad.
“Where does he needs to improve? Where do you want me to start? His positional play, I don’t think he’s been consistent enough, he doesn’t stay with runners, he’s sloppy in possession, I can go on.
“He’s one of these players who people were enjoying and loved, but he’s one of these players that has almost played his way out of the team because he’s not been consistent at West Ham.
“He’s got another opportunity tonight and I think it is a position in the England team where Gareth (Southgate) is obviously not sure who’s going to do that job in there.”
Rice played the full ninety minutes against Kosovo as England finished up their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign atop their group winning seven out of their eight games.
The West Ham midfielder will be hoping that his performances throughout the season for his club and displays so far at international level will be enough to see him included in Gareth Southgate’s squad next summer.