Rice made his first start for the Three Lions on Monday evening having debuted as a substitute against Czech Republic last week
Declan Rice enjoyed a solid full debut for England on Monday evening, but Tony Cascarino fears the West Ham midfielder will become a scapegoat in the future.
Rice won his first Three Lions cap last Friday in the thrashing of Czech Republic, and then started for the first time as Gareth Southgate’s side ran riot against Montenegro.
Rice played the full 90 minutes as England beat Montenegro 5-1 The 20-year-old’s performance was widely praised, with Rice’s precise passing and ball-winning ability catching the eye.
However, there were criticisms levelled at the West Ham star due to his unadventurous approach to the game.
More often than not Rice looked to pass the ball backwards rather than forwards, even if there were passing lanes open in the final third.
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While it is wise to include such a player when coming up against the world’s elite, there is no need for one with Rice’s skill set against the likes of Montenegro.
And Cascarino, pundit and former Republic of Ireland forward, fears Rice will become a target for criticism due to his style of play.
In The Times, Cascarino wrote of Rice: “Played the vital Jordan Henderson role really well: simply breaking up play and then moving the ball on to a team-mate unerringly.
“I just fear he could be made a scapegoat in the future as people ask: ‘What does he actually do?’”
Cascarino’s fear is valid.
Rice plays an important role in Southgate’s side – even if he is hardly noticed He mentions Jordan Henderson, the Liverpool midfielder, who is slammed at both club and international level for his preference to recycle the ball rather than play it forwards, while Tottenham’s Eric Dier has faced similar complaints throughout his career.
Nevertheless, Southgate clearly believes he needs a player like Rice or the aforementioned duo in his starting line-up, and who can criticise the man who guided England to their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years last summer.