The Lowdown: Rice makes ‘obscene’ fixture claim…
The Hammers sensation has been a pivotal figure under manager David Moyes at the London Stadium, unsurprisingly starting most matches as West Ham seek to maintain their place as a top Premier League side.
Rice, as a result, has featured for a huge amount of minutes from the summer of 2021 through to now for both England and his club.
The 23-year-old, he says, has played a quite eye-catching 68 games from June 2021 to June 2022 – an amount Rice claims is ‘obscene’ even for a top flight professional (The Daily Mail).
Going on to say he’s ‘knackered’ after every encounter, the east London superstar appears adamant that something needs to change in regards to the ever-congested calendar.
The Latest: Campbell sends message…
Now, former Arsenal striker Campbell has sent a message to the West Ham favourite after his admission.
Speaking to Football Insider, the Sky pundit hints that Rice is ‘moaning’ and simply must get used to the demands at football’s highest level – even if he’s ‘tired’.
“What are you moaning about? You are getting paid to play football. It is a privileged position. 100 per cent.
“It does not mean that players cannot be tired though. Declan Rice is a young player who is starting to understand what it means to be part of a successful squad. West Ham went deep into the Europa League last season. It brings different demands on you as a player.
“Rice is the leader at West Ham now than Mark Noble has retired. He has to understand that there are more demands. How do you think the Liverpool players felt last season after playing in every game of the season?
“The other teams have bigger squad, granted. Unfortunately, David Moyes does not have that luxury. Rice has to play almost every game.
“Can he be tired? Of course. But if you want to play at the top level these are the demands.”
The Verdict: Is Rice right?
We’re inclined to agree with West Ham’s man on this one.
Injury problems are an ever-present and appear to be a far more persistent problem in football these days, which could be put down to the increasing demand on players in terms of minutes.
Campbell alludes to Liverpool for evidence of a team playing more than the Hammers, but the Reds have looked a shell of their former selves this season and one could certainly point to their exploits last season as a reason why.
This issue has only gotten worse in the build up to 2022’s World Cup in Qatar and something simply must be done off the field to lighten the physical load on these athletes.