Declan Rice ‘very overrated’ and ‘a poor man’s Roy Keane’, claim former international teammates

Robin Bairner
Robin Bairner
  • 20 Jun 2024 02:37 CDT
  • 3 min read
Declan Rice, Arsenal, 2023/24

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice has won widespread acclaim in recent years, but particularly since joining the Gunners from West Ham in a club-record €117 million deal last summer.

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With 52 caps for England, and another likely coming on Thursday when the Three Lions face Denmark at Euro 2024, he has become an integral part of Gareth Southgate’s side.

Rice’s talents, though, are not appreciated by everyone, with a former international teammate of his branding the London-born star as “overrated”.

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Player image Declan Rice
Declan Rice


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Declan Rice
Declan Rice




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Speaking to RTE, Rice’s former Ireland teammate James McClean said: “I think Declan Rice is overrated. For the hype that surrounds him, I don’t think it’s justified.

“Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a very good footballer, but the way the English media wax lyrical about him is completely over the top. For me, he’s not world-class.

“To me, world-class is someone who gets in every side in the world. I don’t think he does that.

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“I don’t think he gets in the Man City side ahead of Rodri. To me Toni Kroos is world-class, he dictates the game, Rodri dictates the game. I don’t think Declan Rice does that.

“Someone who gets it on the half turn and plays passes forward. He’s very good at what he does, he puts out fires and senses danger.”

Rice is no Kroos, Rodri... or Keane

Declan Rice has won widespread acclaim for his Arsenal performances
© IMAGO - Declan Rice has won widespread acclaim for his Arsenal performances

McClean was probed further, asked if the three-time capped Ireland player is simply asked to perform a different task.

“They play the same role, so why can’t they do the same things?” McClean asked.

“If you’re going to give him this much hype and reputation, surely he should be able to do what they do.

“He sees danger and puts out fires, but for the hype that surrounds him I don’t think it’s justified.”

A poor man’s Roy Keane. Similar style of player without his intensity or aggression.
- Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle went a step further, claiming that Rice isn’t a patch on a former Ireland legend.

“A poor man’s Roy Keane,” Doyle said. “Similar style of play without his intensity and aggression.”

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