Declan Rice has discussed the recent criticism he has received from pundits and a desire to use those comments as fuel to improve.
Rice has been a target for criticism from pundits this season following a disappointing season for West Ham, who have found themselves embroiled in the relegation battle after consecutive seasons of European qualification.
Roy Keane and Graeme Souness have been among the names to discuss Rice’s game, with each having suggested that the 24-year-old needs to improve his contribution going forward.
On punditry before West Ham’s FA Cup clash with Manchester United earlier this month, Keane said that Rice ‘hasn’t really kicked on’ and that the midfielder ‘doesn’t score enough goals and he doesn’t get enough assists’.
“He’s said some glowing things about me in the past and sometimes some things I can improve as well,” Rice said of Keane’s comments, as per the BBC.
“You try not to let it affect you that much. I can take criticism on the chin quite well. If it is that way I can see where I can improve.”
Rice also spoke on comments from Souness, who has echoed Keane’s view that Rice must produce more from an attacking sense to be considered a top midfielder.
Souness said that leading midfielders must be able to score goals, create and defend and argued that Rice’s ball-winning was his sole standout quality.
Rice believes that criticism was harsh, but admits his desire to listen to criticism as he looks to improve his game.
“It’s harsh, I think it’s harsh because Souness doesn’t watch West Ham every week,” Rice said.
“There’s loads of West Ham fans, 60,000 go every week, and see what I do. So I think to say I’m only good at one of three things is harsh.
“Souness was a top midfielder, a top player and when someone like him speaks you have to sometimes listen and take on board where you can improve if that’s true.”
Rice is expected to leave West Ham this summer with Arsenal and Chelsea linked with a move to sign the midfielder, who has expressed a desire to compete in the Champions League. Rice’s immediate focus is on England’s Euro 2024 qualification fixtures this month, before leading West Ham away from trouble in the Premier League.
“It’s about these two fixtures for England and when I get back to West Ham it’s about playing the best I can to get us out the relegation battle and win the Europa Conference League,” he said.
“My club performances are probably getting looked at more because of where we are in the league. Being captain my performances are scrutinised more, which I can take on the chin. There probably have been some games recently where I probably haven’t been at my best but there have been other games where I have been at my best.”
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