By Liam Thomas

21st Sep, 2022 | 9:10am

West Ham captain Declan Rice opens up on England squad mentality ahead of 2022 World Cup

West Ham captain Declan Rice has opened up on England’s mentality heading into their final pre-World Cup fixtures, after a string of poor results under Gareth Southgate.

England and Rice have UEFA Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany as the team’s last bit of preparation before heading to Qatar.

Rice admitted things had been “tough” but the squad have been open and honest about their recent failures and are looking to move forward.

Speaking to TalkSPORT via their YouTube channel, Rice was open and honest about England’s recent performances and their eagerness to improve.

“It was a tough period, we came off the back of a long season,” said Rice.

“We didn’t have the best results in the first game and then it carried on.

“But there were positive signs even though the results probably didn’t go our way we should’ve won the Italy game, the Germany game we obviously created the better chances.

“It’s about how you react as a team and stick together.”

Tough.

Despite England’s performances in recent tournament outings under Southgate, there’s a feeling that the Qatar World Cup may be his trickiest to date.

The national team have been in torrid form and the majority of players in the squad haven’t been hitting the heights at club level either.

However, England do have time between now and the start of the tournament to get things right, they’ll kick off their campaign at Khalifa International Stadium on Monday 21st November.

West Ham captain Rice has played a pivotal role in anything his national side have done in recent years and will be looking to recapture some of that form in the tournament.

Nevertheless, the level of competition England will face in the World Cup may be their toughest ever; national teams from smaller footballing nations have progressed massively.

The Three Lions’ road to the final is far from easy; they will face the USA, Wales and Iran in arguably the tournament’s toughest group.