Rice: My West Ham form gave me full confidence I could perform at the highest level for England
Image Credit: West Ham United Official website

Declan Rice believes his strong season with West Ham United gave him confidence that he could perform at the same level as he did in Sunday’s 1-0 Group D triumph over Croatia.

The 22-year-old was instrumental in England’s dominance in the midfield, which stifled the likes of Luka Modri, Ivan Perii, and Marcelo Brozovi and laid the groundwork for a hard-fought but well-deserved victory at Wembley Stadium.

After the game, the West Ham midfielder told reporters that Croatia goalkeeper Dominik Livakovi’s assertion that his country’s midfield was better to England’s had given him even more drive to perform on Sunday.

After the season I’ve had with West Ham and the performances I’ve had with England recently I had full confidence before the game that I could go out there and perform to a high standard

Declan Rice

“I did see the comments before the game and of course you don’t want to talk too much,” he began. “You want to just go out on the field and show what you can do. I thought our gameplan was excellent. We – me, Mase and Kalv – have been working on our distances and Mase and Kalv pressing and me sitting just behind them and allowing them to express themselves and having the freedom to do what they want and I think it worked really well on Sunday.

“There were always going to be spells when Croatia had the ball and we had to sit in but I thought Mase and Kalv were outstanding and we worked really well in there and it was a key battle in the game.”

Rice’s performance on Sunday gave him even more faith and confidence as a youngster who has made huge progress in his own game over the last 2 or 3 seasons.

“We knew we had to be at the top level and if I’d have had asked myself two years ago to go out there and perform at a high standard, of course I’d have gone out there and done it but maybe I’d have had some doubts,” he revealed.

“But on Sunday, in my mind, after the season I’ve had with West Ham and the performances I’ve had with England recently I had full confidence before the game that I could go out there and perform to a high standard and I think everyone did that.”

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