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Euro 2024: Criticism of England has been fair – Rice

Declan Rice believes a positive performance against Slovenia can silence England's critics.

Declan Rice

Declan Rice believes criticism of England’s performances at Euro 2024 have been fair but believes the Three Lions will put in a much-improved display against Slovenia.

The Three Lions sit top of Group C with four points but faced heavy criticism after drawing 1-1 with Denmark in their last game.

Several England players have since come out questioning some of the comments thrown their way – particularly by ex-player pundits such as Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer.

But Rice, who played every minute of that game and their 1-0 win over Serbia, admitted they have not performed to the level they know they can.

Speaking at England’s pre-match press conference, the 25-year-old said: “The criticism from people in this room has probably been fair with what they’ve been saying because we’re the ones that ultimately have to go out there and perform and play well.

“First game we did that in spells, second game we didn’t do that quite as well. So the expectation of what people are going to say is obviously going to be negative.

“I did come and defend our front players because naturally as young players, you read stuff. Stuff can play on your mind and it’s probably better to read a load of stuff that’s more positive than negative.

“I like to tell players they can be the best players on the pitch and that they can change games.

“And I feel like the more you feel that within yourself, the more you’re confident when you step out on the pitch.

“I feel that you’ll see that when we step out on the pitch. I think we’re going to be really confident and ready and hopefully after that we’ll turn a page and things will start to look more positive.”

‘They will be out to shock the world’

England’s place in the last 16 is not yet secured, with a shock defeat in Cologne opening up the possibility of finishing third in Group C.

And though the 53rd-ranked side are England’s easiest game on paper, Rice has seen enough from their first two games to know another stern test awaits them.

“I’ve watched Slovenia, their first two group games, and they’ve actually been really, really good,” the 25-year-old added.

“They have a lot of strong players, really fast. Obviously the main talking point, [Benjamin] Sesko, the boy who plays up front. He’s been a massive target for clubs around Europe.

“Tomorrow is going to be really tough. When you play teams like Slovenia, you know what you are going to get.

“They are going to come at us, they are going to want to win the game, they are going to want to shock the world.”

Picture of Cian Cheesbrough

Cian Cheesbrough

Cian is a sports journalist with experience writing for national title, including LiveScore, MailOnline, Eurosport and Sky Sports. He has covered a number of key events during his time in the industry, including from the press box at live Champions League fixtures.