Declan Rice made one mistake against Kosovo and it was punished. But the England international still produced an exceptional display to help his country to a 5-3 win over the Kosovans.
Kosovo took an early lead through Valon Berisha but England roared back to score five unanswered goals before half-time. But after the break, it was Rice’s misplaced pass (his first unsuccessful pass of the match) which led to Berisha’s second goal.
But let’s forget about that one blip, which has paled into insignificance given the final result. Here are some statistics (sourced from WhoScored.com) that prove his value to the England team.
Declan Rice: Performance in numbers
Spectators often forget that Rice’s role is not the playmaker in the middle. This is why he sits behind Ross Barkley and Jordan Henderson. The 20-year-old keeps things simple and goes about his job, doing the unappreciated work in the middle of the park.
If you think that he did not have a good game, perhaps these stats will change your mind. Rice completed 75 passes with an impressive completion rate of 90 per cent. Despite his one mistake, his passing was consistent throughout the rest of the game.
Defensively, he is an unsung hero. Operating in a holding midfield role, Rice made two tackles (joint-top with Trent Alexander-Arnold), two interceptions and one block. He also made four clearances, which was the joint-top tally alongside Michael Keane and Ben Chilwell.
His overall defensive output contributed more to England’s game than any other player. West Ham fans will not be surprised by this as it is par for the course with Rice. But he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for England.