Wednesday 12 December 2018

'I can take control of a game' - Declan Rice buzzing after Everton victory and stats highlight just how good he was

West Ham United's Declan Rice (L) vies with Everton's striker Cenk Tosun
West Ham United's Declan Rice (L) vies with Everton's striker Cenk Tosun Newsdesk Newsdesk

Declan Rice highlighted why Gareth Southgate has tried to poach him from the Martin O'Neill in a superb performance in West Ham's convincing 3-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park yesterday.

The 19-year-old, who is still mulling over his international future, bossed the midfield battle against the Toffees with England assistant manager Steve Holland watching on.

His stats were very impressive.

Only Felipe Anderson attempted more passes than Rice. From his 40 passes, the teenager found a teammate on 33 occasions for an 82.5pc completion rate

Only Pedro Obiang covered more yardage than Rice who ran 11.31km during the game.

Rice recovered possession 11 times, made five tackles, three clearances, an interception and blocking two Gylfi Sigurdsson shots in a complete display.

He was oozing with confidence afterwards.

“I really, really enjoyed it,” he told the West Ham website. “Obviously the first week against Liverpool was tough for me and I knew in myself that I had to improve. We’d worked on the tactics all week with me in there with Pedro and Nobes and it paid off. It was a really good moment for all of us.

“It’s good that I can play in two positions, as a centre-back or as a holding midfielder, as I just want to get minutes and get games. Like you saw in the second half, I can take control of a game and start passing it left and right and helping out with the defensive bits with Issa [Diop] and Fab [Balbuena], who I thought were excellent.

“I thought it was a collective great team performance today, so hopefully we can keep it going.”

Rice is expected to hold on to his place in the team for the visit of Chelsea to the London Stadium on Sunday.

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