Declan Rice branded 'very overrated' as Irish footballer James McClean rips into former team-mate

James McClean feels Declan Rice is 'very overrated'

James McClean feels Declan Rice is 'very overrated'

RTE/REUTERS
Stuart Ballard

By Stuart Ballard


Published: 20/06/2024

- 09:16

Updated: 20/06/2024

- 09:20

Declan Rice switched allegiance to play for England in 2019 after originally starting his international career with the Republic of Ireland.

Declan Rice is seen by many as one of the best holding midfielders in world football, but it's not a view shared by his former Republic of Ireland team-mate James McClean.

The 25-year-old is seen as one of the first names on Gareth Southgate's England teamsheet and will be crucial to their hopes of winning Euro 2024.


He's been an integral part of the England set-up for several years now having made his senior debut for the Three Lions in 2019.

However, Rice began his international career with the Republic of Ireland having come through their youth ranks before controversially switching allegiance.

James McClean feels Declan Rice is 'very overrated'

James McClean feels Declan Rice is 'very overrated'

RTE/REUTERS

The defensive midfielder made three appearances for Ireland before sparking uproar and anger amongst Irish supporters when he decided to submit a request to FIFA to transfer his international registration.

Rice has since become the 11th-most expensive footballer in history after Arsenal paid £100million to sign him from West Ham in 2023.

He played a huge role in Arsenal's title challenge with Manchester City last year and was praised for his display against Serbia in England's opening Euro 2024 game.

However, McClean, who played in all three games Rice featured in for Ireland before his switch, feels some of praise has been over the top.

"I find with [Jamal] Musiala, he justifies the hype," McLean said on RTE.

"I think Declan Rice is very overrated.

"Don't get me wrong, I think he's a very good footballer, but the way the English media have waxed lyrical about him I think is way over the top.

"For me, he's not world class. World class to me is someone who gets in every single side in the world and I don't think he does that.

"I don't think he gets in the Man City side ahead of Rodri.

Declan Rice played three matches for the Republic of Ireland in 2018

Declan Rice played three matches for the Republic of Ireland in 2018

GETTY

"I don't think he gets in - I know Kroos is now retired, but to me Toni Kroos is world class and dictates the game. Rodri dictates the game, I don't think Declan Rice does that.

"He's not someone who's going to get it on the half turn, plays passes forward. He's very good at what he does."

He added: "They play in the same role so why can't they do the same thing?

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Declan Rice is now seen as one of the best holding midfielders in world football

Declan Rice is now seen as one of the best holding midfielders in world football

PA

"If you're going to give him this much of a hype and reputation then surely he should be able to do what they do in getting the ball on the half turn, play passes forward and dictate play.

"He's got at what he does. He sees danger and he puts out fires but for the hype that surrounds him, I don't think it's justified."

Kevin Doyle also took a shot at the former Republic of Ireland youngster, calling him a "poor man's Roy Keane".

He added: "A similar style of play without maybe his intensity and aggression."

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