Chris Sutton has admitted that he has been blown away by Declan Rice for West Ham in the Premier League this season.
Rice captained the Hammers to a Europa League finish against all odds.
The 22-year-old looks set to start in midfield for England at the Euros, with Jordan Henderson’s fitness a concern for Gareth Southgate.
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Writing for the Daily Mail, Sutton has rated Rice as an 8/10 player and described him as West Ham’s “protector.”
“[Rice] can put out fires with his impeccable positioning and is now better at carrying the ball,” Sutton said.
The former Blackburn Rovers striker also praised Harry Kane in his column, hailing his ability to finish with most goals and assists in the Premier League this past season.
Kane and England will kick off their Euros campaign against Croatia on Sunday.
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The Three Lions were knocked out of the 2018 World Cup by the Croats, but Mateo Kovacic has said this will not impact Sunday’s match.
“We know England have young, fast and agile players,” he said.
“Their fans are also expecting a lot from them. It will be difficult for us.
“I wished my English teammates luck, and they offered the same gesture, but everyone will be fighting for their own side.”
Asked if the 2018 semi-final win over England provides a psychological advantage, Kovacic added: “I don’t think so. It’s been three years.
“This is a new competition and they are focused on this match, which is important because it’s their first of the tournament.”
An increase in midfield options aids the Three Lions’ cause heading into Euro 2020 and Kovacic, fresh from winning the Champions League with Chelsea, is up for the fight.
“There will be a battle in the midfield, but we are ready.
“We are working hard for every match and we will give our best. It is a big tournament so I know a lot is expected from us.”
Also, Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovic has insisted that their midfield is “better” than England’s ahead of their Group D opener on Sunday.
“Our midfielders can play against anyone. I think our midfield is better than theirs, so I hope that is somewhere we can do well.”
Euro 2020 is finally here – and what better way to celebrate than with a preview show to mark the launch of our new multi-sport website Planet Sport?