Skip to content

England Players Shouldering Too Much Pressure – Rice

  • 2 min read

After a stuttering start to Euro 2024, England midfielder Declan Rice admitted the players are feeling immense pressure to bring home the nation’s first major trophy in 58 years.

Although Gareth Southgate’s team top Group C with four points and have one foot in the knockout round ahead of Tuesday’s game against Slovenia, they received scathing criticism after Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Denmark.

“We are all so desperate to do the country proud,” Rice said.

“We are all so desperate to win, to be leaders, to go out there and give people memories for lifetimes, and sometimes I maybe feel like we put too much pressure on ourselves where we could just go out there and let it just take care of ourselves.”

The Arsenal player is part of Southgate’s leadership group along with captain Harry Kane, vice-captain Kyle Walker and Jude Bellingham, tasked with helping less experienced members .

England have a dozen players who have never played in a major tournament and one of Southgate’s concerns was how they would handle the pressure.

Part of the frustration comes from the richly talented squad Southgate has, including several of the top forwards in Europe, including Bellingham, who had a remarkable season at Real Madrid and Premier League player of the year Phil Foden.

“I think there is probably more pressure now from the outside just because of the seasons some of our players have had,” Rice said.

“If you look at the goals that our front four (Foden, Bellingham, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka) have scored this year, it’s over 100 between them.

“Of course, there is expectation because they are the best players in the world. And that goes for everyone throughout the team. There’s going to be that pressure. This is England (at) a major tournament. But this is our job and this is what we have to deal with.”

Southgate’s team were criticised for their lack of pressing in the Denmark game and their 1-0 win over Serbia.

“I think it’s just connections all over the pitch,” said Rice. “You need to have your connections. We work on our pressing all the time.”

Slovenia have two points after draws against Denmark and Serbia.