West Ham captain Mark Noble believes teammate Declan Rice has the character to go a long way in the game after coming through a testing match for England during the international break.
The 20-year-old gave the ball away which led to Kosovo scoring their second goal in the 5-3 win last week, but Noble says he loved how Rice immediately got back on the ball following the error:
“When I watched that mistake, I thought, ‘Okay, will he go again, will he want the ball straight away?’ He did. It didn’t affect him at all. He could have gone another way. He could have hidden and not wanted the ball for a time, or he could have gone over-keen and tried and make up for his error.”
“When something like that happens you need to just bin it and carry on, which he did. The criticism won’t distract him, I am sure of that. We know how good a player he is, he knows how good he is – and so does Gareth Southgate. He will have ups and downs. The last 18 months has been constant ups, but football isn’t like that forever.”
As Noble rightly points out, mistakes do happen, and it was one of the few that Rice made in both matches for England in the Euro 2020 qualifiers.
He is still learning his game and developing his knowledge as a central midfield player. Even so, he showed tremendous character to not hide away after the error and continued playing his usual game.
With Noble alongside him in midfield, Rice will have a perfect mentor to learn from over the coming years, and that should hold him in good stead for the future.