The Euros are over and in an ultra-climatic fashion. Although Declan Rice and England didn’t come out on top, the West Ham captain matured a thousandfold.
For the West Ham fanbase, this headliner won’t surprise anyone. Declan Rice has been a staple in East London for the better part of the past three years. Now, he has shown this to the entire world, playing on the world’s biggest stage against the world’s best footballing countries.
During yesterday’s European Championship, the Hammers captain played possibly the best match of his European campaign. He completed four dribbles on the offensive and six tackles keeping Italy at bay until well into the second half.
Over the entirety of the tournament, Rice played 540 minutes and kept his passing accuracy above 90%. Rice did what he has all season as well in partnering well with his midfield counterparts. Instead of Tomas Soucek, he and Kalvin Phillips bossed the Three Lions up and down the midfield over the past few weeks.
A European coming of age for West Ham United’s leader
You see, Delcan Rice has been doing this all along; now, he has shown that he can do it no matter the competition. He and Phillps were the only two out of six Lions to play all seven matches throughout the tournament. Even after premature calls to start someone else, Southgate stuck to his guns and played his most consistent asset throughout it all.
In football, a lot of times players are judged on individual performances. Although you could judge Rice on that alone and still give him a fair rating, the true judge of his actions is shown through the rest of the team. He not only gives his all for 90 minutes, but he also makes the players around him better throughout it all as well.
Rice and the rest of the Three Lions will now get some much-needed downtime before heading back to the preseason festivities. Now that Declan Rice has tackled one European feat, he will turn to another as he and the Hammers prepare to take on the Europa League next season. After an amazing run, expect his form and capabilities to wear off on the rest of the squad with his return.