Declan Rice, seed of vice-champion / Euro 2020 / Final / Italy-England (1-1, 3-2 TAB) / July 12, 2021 /

This Sunday evening, after England’s defeat against Italy (1-1, 3-2 TAB) at Wembley, it’s a whole country that will drown its sadness and frustration after the failure of Three lions in their quest for a first European trophy. And yet, everything was not to throw in their performance, especially that of a player: Declan Rice, 22, a novice at such a level and who once again justified his indispensable presence among the eleven holders of his coach Gareth Southgate. A beautiful brightening up after a nightmarish evening.

It will obviously be difficult to console the English after a defeat in the final of the Euro at home, at Wembley. The tears will flow, the regrets will last, then it will be necessary to remember the performance of a man. In the dark, there may remain the bright performance of Declan Rice, 22, imperial in the big leagues as the tireless midfielder in Gareth Southgate’s eleven. If the losers are the ones telling the story, Rice still has time to write hers.

When talent compensates for inexperience

Alongside Kalvin Phillips, another English revelation in this Euro 2020, with whom he formed an explosive tandem totally inexperienced at this level (no European Cup match, 25 selections between them before the start of the tournament), Rice n ‘has continued to shine throughout this European Championship. The West Ham midfielder will have started each meeting in the shoes of a holder, including on the occasion of this final. Replaced at 74e minute of play by Jordan Henderson, the man of the match on the English side left behind a sacred sheet of statistics: 49 balls touched, 25 successful passes out of 33, 4 dribbles out of 6, 3 tackles out of 6 and one interception.

But the strong point of the player of Hammers is undoubtedly his ability to dominate duels, as he won 13 of 17 during the evening, with the impression that the 22-year-old – widely criticized since he opted for the English selection at the expense of Ireland where he had made his ranges in the lower category – made ten more, especially during a first period when he flew over the debates facing the middle of the Squadra Azzurra.

2022, it’s all right

The major influence of the Londoner in the face of Nazionale during this final will therefore have enabled the latter to assert, if it were still necessary, his talent and his volume of play in mondovision. A beautiful showcase that should serve as a springboard in the near future. Indisputable element in selection as in club, where he has already worn the captain’s armband several times, Declan Rice should not make old bones in the Hammers, and his name should quickly find an echo with the biggest English clubs, even European ones. As for the national team, Gareth Southgate has rightly made them an indestructible pawn of his eleven since he wears the jersey of Three lions. The midfielder made an appointment with the 2022 World Cup, but also with the decade to come, reminding that the nugget label was not only reserved for English attackers.

By Fabien Gelinat

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