Declan Rice has backed England head coach Gareth Southgate to keep his job following their World Cup quarter-final defeat to France at Al Bayt Stadium.
Southgate’s future is up in the air after seeing his side lose 2-1 to the reigning World Cup champions, and there are questions about whether the Englishman will quit his job.
Despite being backed by several key players in the Three Lions squad, including Harry Kane and Harry Maguire, as well as the English Football Association itself, Southgate will take time to reflect on England’s tournament before deciding on his future.
Rice, who started all of England’s games in Qatar, has joined the Southgate bandwagon and believes the 52-year-old should stay on as manager because of his tactical brilliance.
“If you guys could come in and see how well everyone’s been on it, you would have thought we would have gone the whole way, but for me, personally, I hope he stays,” Rice said via Evening Standard.
“There’s a lot of talk around that (whether he quits). I think he’s been brilliant for us. I think there’s a lot of criticism that’s not deserved. I think he’s taken us so, so far. Further than what people can expect.
“Tonight, he got everything spot on again – it’s not on him. It’s not on him at all – the tactics were right, and we played the right way.
“We were aggressive, we stopped Mbappe, he was quiet. Ultimately, like I said, it was two goals against the run of play, and that’s not down to the manager – it’s down to us on the pitch.
“I really hope he stays because the core group that we’ve got and what he’s made for us, it’s so special to be a part of, I love playing under him, and I love playing for England.”
The West Ham United midfielder also touched on the negativity surrounding England and insisted that it will go away when the Three Lions finally win a trophy.
“I think sometimes the negativity surrounding us will go away once we have won something again,” he added.
“I think there will always be that pressure on us, but I feel like it’s starting to sway that way that we’re getting back to a level where people are believing in us, and the country is backing us.
“A few years ago it wasn’t like that, so we can be really proud of ourselves as a group. But we need to go again because, ultimately, international football is based on what you win, we haven’t won for years, so that is what we want to try and do it.”
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