West Ham stand-in skipper Declan Rice put on another excellent performance for England on Sunday as they won 2-0 away to Albania.
The 22-year-old was rested for the 5-0 victory on Friday over San Marino. He played a full 90 minutes against Albania as England made it two wins out of two to kickstart their World Cup qualifying process.
Harry Kane struck in the first half – his first international goal in eight games. Kane then turned provider in the second half for Mason Mount to make it 2-0, and effectively kill the game off.
Rice performed well in the deep-lying midfielder role again for his country. He has been a member of every Gareth Southgate England squad since his debut against the Czech Republic back in 2018.
The Hammers ace performs to his usual high standards whenever representing the Three Lions and appears to have won the trust of the England boss.
Rice produced some excellent numbers again for England. According to WhoScored, he was successful with 97% of his attempted passes and had 126 touches overall. He also won 100% of his aerial duels and completed six of his seven attempted long passes.
Southgate chose to start with Rice and Kalvin Phillips anchoring the midfield, but as time went on, it appeared Phillips was given a licence to get forward. In turn, Rice sat deep and dictated play, which is a huge showing of trust from Southgate.
Often he would slot in between John Stones and Harry Maguire to spread the backline and encourage Luke Shaw and Kyle Walker to get forward. Albania proved to be stubborn for large parts of the game, and our opening goal came from Shaw getting forward.
It worked a treat. Rice was solid at the back – he made five interceptions, three clearances and won two tackles. As we so often see, nothing phased him, and he was composed in possession.
Southgate will have no choice but to keep selecting him based on this display. Yes, it was only Albania, but you can only play what is in front of you. Poland, up next, will be a big test. We’re sure he’ll be up to it.
In other West Ham news, ex-boss Alan Pardew believes Mark Noble will be a fantastic manager one day.