Arsenal and England star labelled ‘overrated’ by James McClean

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James McClean believes Declan Rice is ‘overrated’ and shouldn’t be considered among the world’s elite midfielders. 

Rice has become a key player for Arsenal since joining from West Ham last summer, finishing first among his teammates in the Premier League in a number of key metrics — including tackles (83), interceptions (44) and assists from set-pieces (5).

The 25-year-old is equally vital for the Three Lions, picking up 52 caps to date and starting each of their last 13 major tournament matches.

On Sunday, Rice completed a match-high 77 passes, created one chance and posted a 100% success rate for dribbles and long passes to help England beat Serbia 1-0 in their Euro 2024 opener.

James McClean brands Rice ‘overrated’

Things could have been very different for Rice, who was capped 20 times for the Republic of Ireland across various youth levels and even played for them in three senior friendlies before switching allegiance to England in 2019.

Former Ireland international McClean — who now plies his trade with Wrexham — may well still hold a grudge about that decision.

The ex-Sunderland and West Brom man has hit out at Rice, branding him as ‘overrated’ while accusing him of not being able to ‘dictate’ matches in the same manner as Rodri or Toni Kroos.

“I think Declan Rice is overrated,” McClean told RTE (via GOAL). “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. 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.”

Rice is likely unfazed by McClean’s strong words and will be focused on helping England to another three points when they face Denmark in Frankfurt on Thursday.

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