On the eve of an expected starting berth in England’s latest Euro 2020 qualifier, West Ham United star Declan Rice has been named the best in Europe.
Hammers fans already know they have a top player on their hands in Rice.
But supporters are irritated by a minority who have trolled the West Ham midfielder’s performances for the national team.
The 20-year-old has already made 75 appearances for West Ham and has become Manuel Pellegrini’s most important player alongside goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Trolls and cynics busted
Cynics and social media trolls have suggested Rice is overhyped by West Ham fans and the media.
That’s despite the fact Rice made more tackles and more interceptions than any other midfielder under the age of 21 in Europe’s top five leagues last season.
And on the eve of England’s trip to the Czech Republic on Friday, where Rice is expected to start once again for Gareth Southgate’s side, statistics reveal the Hammers star has maintained his position as top dog so far this season.
Best in Europe, we know what you are
According to WhoScored.com Rice has made 18 interceptions in his eight games for West Ham this season.
That is more than any other player aged 21 and under in Europe’s top five leagues.
Declan Rice: Has made more interceptions (18) than any other played aged 21 and under in Europe’s top five leagues this season
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 9, 2019
It is quite some statistic. And one perhaps his England critics should read before judging the midfield enforcer.
Rice is now West Ham’s most indispensable player.
Dec making England position his own
And England have been crying out for a player to make that crucial position their own with the likes of Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson failing to impress in an England shirt.
Unfortunately for West Ham, these kind of stats will also make Europe’s elite sit up and take notice.
And surely that will be West Ham’s next problem. Ensuring Rice stays in East London long term.