West Ham sent a few players away on international duty, but with the spotlight on him, Declan Rice shined for England over the break.
What turned out to be a tale of two matches for England as far as positivity and success is concerned, West Ham can be proud of Declan Rice for every second of his appearances for his home country over this international break.
Left out against Wales, Rice sat and watched Harry Winks and Kalvin Phillips play the double pivot in what turned out to be a dominant display by the Lions over their Welsh neighbours.
Rice was being saved for a match against a top global football team in Belgium later that week. A full 90 minutes, a yellow card, a win, and a crunching tackle on Romelu Lukaku all highlighted the performance from Rice and England in a terrific match.
Rice drew back in against Denmark in the final match of the England break for what would turn out to be a disastrous evening for the team – well, a few players individually. A 30-minute Harry Maguire red card gave the Danes an hour to find the winning goal and hold on which they did in this 1-0 defeat.
Reece James would also see red after the final whistle for comments made to the overly sensitive referee, capping off a bad night to be an England player. Rice, who played 76 minutes of this match, was turned to post-game to breakdown and explain the performance for his nation and captain.
Eloquent, concise, and supportive, Declan Rice showed the leadership qualities needed in a captain, ironically while defending his international captain post-match. Sometimes it is easy to lose track of the fact that Rice is just 21-years-old because of how mature and level-headed he is, especially with the tension surrounding him and his future.
For West Ham, it is completely justified that he has settled into the captain’s role on the pitch with Mark Noble benched behind him and Tomas Soucek. Thankfully, Rice has also superseded Aaron Cresswell and Angelo Ogbonna who have both captained the team in the past, hopefully leveraging his emergence as THE important player for this team.
This interview is short but shows the true character of the player West Ham has. When constantly pitted against his midfield counterparts in the media, Rice responds that the lads love each other. When asked if the players need to rally around Maguire, Rice declines and individually raises up his captain continuously supporting him as a leader.
West Ham are lucky to have Rice now and hopefully in the future as he exemplified everything a football club would want in a leader and captain on and off the pitch. A true successor to Mark Noble, Declan Rice has everything it takes to be West Ham’s captain and leader.