Declan Rice thinks the 'negativity' around England will only end when they win something as he backs Southgate to stay | The Sun

DECLAN RICE reckons the “negativity” surrounding England will only disappear once the Three Lions actually win something.

Yet with the next major tournament in Germany just 19 months away, the West Ham midfielder is desperate for Gareth Southgate to stay as manager.


England’s next game is on March 23 2023 and a trip to Naples to face Italy in a Euro2024 qualifier.

Rice said: “We've come so far. I think that's credit to the manager, the spirit that he's brought to this team and togetherness that we've got. Personally, I hope he stays.

“There's a lot of talk around the manager. I think he's been brilliant for us. I think there's a lot of criticism that's not deserved. I think he's taken us so, so far. Further than what people expected.

“I really hope he stays because of the core group that we've got and what he's made for us. It's so special to be a part of, I love playing under him and I love playing for England.

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“We weren’t overly-confident over here but we were confident enough that we really could win this tournament and that is not the mentality England have had over the years.

“I think we've handled it so well, if you look at the squad we are so young, but we've got so many top players.

“We've got to a semi-final, Euros final, obviously crashed out here at a quarter-final but in my opinion the better team lost and that shows how far we have come.

“I think sometimes the negativity surrounding us will go away once we have won something again. I think there will always be that pressure on us but I feel like it's starting to sway that way that we're getting back to a level where people are believing in us and the country is backing us.

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“A few years ago, it wasn't like that. So we can be really proud of ourselves as a group. But we need to go again because ultimately, international football is based on what you win, we haven't won for years so that is what we want to try and do.”

Rice, 23, who has 39 caps, delivered a strong midfield performance against France after a difficult start.

Asked about what Southgate said to the players afterwards, he said: “He was so proud of us as a group because of how we've been, how we've applied ourselves to the last month and what we've given in training sessions. Some of the lads that haven’t even had a minute, every day around the group.

“Against France, he got everything spot on again. It's not on him. It's not on him at all – the tactics were right, we played the right way.

“I think you can see on my face right now that I'm distraught because we really believed this year that it could be a year.”

Defender Harry Maguire also backed Southgate to stay.

He said: “Over the last six years, with Gareth in charge, you can really see the development. I know being an England manager is so tough, they get every decision they make scrutinised, every squad they make it is ‘he should be in’ or ‘he shouldn’t be in’.

“Every team he picks it is ‘he should play’ or ‘he shouldn’t play’. That is being an England manager. He knows how to handle it and tactically he gets all the big decisions right and he has proven that again this tournament. Gareth has been amazing with myself. Amazing with every player in the team.

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“I know we lost. But it’s probably the best performance we’ve had against a big team. They are the world champions and I feel like they will go on to lift the cup. And if we are being totally honest, we were a lot better than them in a lot of areas.

“This is tournament football and you can only look after the performance. Four years ago against Croatia we didn’t play well enough to progress through to the final. In this game we lost but we did everything right and sometimes this in football, the best team doesn’t win. That is why everyone loves the game.”

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