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19th Jun 2024

James McClean says Declan Rice is ‘overrated’


“For the hype that surrounds him, I don’t think it’s justified.”

James McClean has said that England and Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice is overrated.

McClean was speaking on RTÉ’s Euro 2024 coverage and said that his former Republic of Ireland teammate is a level below world-class.

“I think Declan Rice is overrated,” the Wrexham winger said.

“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,” McClean continued.

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

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.”

McClean was then asked if it was simply a case that Rice is a different type of player from Rodri or Kroos.

“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.”

Kevin Doyle, McClean’s former Ireland teammate was alongside him on punditry duty and appeared to echo his views on Rice.

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

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