Declan Rice put in a solid performance on his full international debut for England last night as the Three Lions went on to hammer Montenegro 5-1.
Yet despite that and the overall impressive season the West Ham man has had, former Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino believes he could be in for some serious criticism later down the line.
“[Rice] Played the vital Jordan Henderson role really well: simply breaking up play and then moving the ball on to a team-mate unerringly,” Cascarino wrote in The Times (via talkSPORT) when doing his player ratings for the match.
“I just fear he could be made a scapegoat in the future as people ask: ‘What does he actually do?’,” the ex-Gillingham man added.
Given the criticism Henderson often gets for constantly playing what people deem as sideways passes from that position, Cascarino’s point is a valid one.
Looking at last night’s match, though, and Rice’s campaign as a whole, merely retaining possession is not the 20-year-old’s game.
As well as stopping opposition attacks in a way you would expect any defensive midfielder to, Rice is also capable of getting his team on the front foot once winning back possession.
He plays forward and progressive passes through the lines instead of just recycling aimless possession, a quality England supporters will surely come to appreciate.
Based on that alone, Cascarino can rest at ease when it comes to the former Chelsea youth player.
And at just 20 years of age, working under a coach like Manuel Pellegrini, there is no reason why Rice cannot go up another level and iron out any deficiencies he does have in his game.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience