After another five-goal blast by England the understated debut of West Ham United star Declan Rice was easy to miss.

Rice made his senior bow in the 5-0 demolition of Czech Republic last Friday.

And the Hammer followed that up with his full debut – and a full 90 minutes – in the 5-1 win at Montenegro on Monday night.

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Understated Rice a treat for educated football fans

The performances of Ross Barkley and Callum Hudson-Odoi caught the eye as did Raheem Sterling yet again in a game marred by alleged racist chanting.

Rice’s assured display in central midfield belied his tender years.

After all the West Ham hero is only 20 and playing in one of the most crucial positions in modern football.

The less educated football fan could be forgiven for missing the importance of Rice in England’s win.

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Rice the silent assassin

But statistics from the game prove he is the missing link for Gareth Southgate’s young and hungry lions.

Rice had the highest pass completion rate of any England player with 96%. He made 71 successful passes in the 90 minutes.


Some would argue many of his passes were sideways given the way Montenegro set up.

But then there is the combative side of his game.

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England have the new Busquets

Rice made six tackles, the most for England.

He made three interceptions, the most for England.

And he made three blocks to boot.

England have the new Sergio Busquets and this is just the beginning.

Rice will return to club matters with West Ham this week as Manuel Pellegrini’s side entertain Everton.

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