Danny Murphy defends ‘wonderful player’ Declan Rice after stern Roy Keane criticism

Declan Rice has taken some heavy criticism from Roy Keane (Picture: Getty Images)

Danny Murphy has come to the defence of West Ham and England midfielder Declan Rice after he came in for fierce criticism from Roy Keane.

The former Manchester United captain was in typically fiery mood when asked about Rice’s limitations ahead of England’s trip to Kosovo on Sunday.

Keane worked with the 20-year-old at international level before Rice switched his allegiance from Ireland to England and picked out a number of faults in his game.

‘Well, where he [Rice] needs to improve, there’s plenty of aspects,’ Keane told ITV.

‘When you think about him, over the last few months he’s had a lot of praise. I’ve looked at him pretty closely, I’ve worked with him when he was with the Irish squad.

‘Where he needs to improve, where do you want me to start? His positional play, I don’t think he’s been consistent enough, he doesn’t stay with runners, he’s sloppy in possession, I can go on.

‘He’s one of these players who people were enjoying and loved but he’s one of these players that has almost played his way out of the team because he’s not been consistent at West Ham.’

Rice started in England’s 4-0 win over Kosovo on Sunday (Picture: Getty Images)

However, former England international Murphy disagrees strongly with Keane, praising Rice’s positional play and saying he has achieved a lot for such a young age.

‘I do think he went over the top and there’s probably a little bit in him that’s not happy he jumped ship from Ireland, although I think he made the right decision,’ Murphy told talkSPORT.

‘Declan’s a wonderful player. He’s 20-years-old, he’s been playing every week in West Ham’s side in the Premier League since he was a teenager and for the majority for the last season-and-a-half he’s been their best player.

‘He’s progressed more than anyone ever thought he would, really quickly, which suggests to me he does have football intelligence.

‘The other thing is he’s moved from a defensive position into midfield and you have to learn that role, and you learn as you play.

‘International football is very different from club football and not playing European football at club level means you only get to learn about that when you’re playing international football, so he’s going to have good and bad games, it’s inevitable at 20 years of age.

‘So I think it’s harsh.

‘I do think his positional play is good and he spots danger and tracks runners very well, he’s very disciplined, hence all the plaudits he’s got. I think Declan’s got a super future ahead of him.’

Rice has been heavily linked with a move to Keane’s former club Manchester United as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is keen to build his side around young British talent.

The Red Devils are expected to make a move for the England international over the summer as Solskjaer’s revamp continues.

MORE: Roy Keane says Marcus Rashford is ‘back to his best’ after ‘pure quality’ goal for England against Kosovo

MORE: Roy Keane delivers damning verdict on Manchester United transfer target Declan Rice


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