This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Darren Bent has claimed that expectations need to be managed for Declan Rice, as reported by Football Insider.
Rice has been widely criticised for his performances in recent times, as was epitomised after England’s 4-0 win against Kosovo, with plenty of fans getting on his back.
This came despite him maintaining a pass completion rate of 98%, while also making 1 clearance, 1 tackle and blocking 1 shot.
In the other extreme, there is talk of the West Ham man having a price tag of £100m put on his head amid interest from Manchester United.
Speaking to Football Insider, Darren Bent has indicated that expectations need to be managed regarding the 20-year-old: “Some people have spoken about Declan Rice being worth something crazy like £100m, which is crazy, ridiculous, no way right, there’s no chance but at the same time, he is a good young player.
“He is learning his trade, it’s not always going to happen for him, but he’s a very very good young player, so he’s going to need time to develop.
“But at the same time, in the Premier League, people want results now and sometimes you have these regressions, but listen, he is still doing well, he is still young enough, he is still learning, people forget he is still young and learning.”
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Bent is correct in saying that Rice is still doing well despite the criticism, as he has played all 12 of West Ham’s Premier League games this season, averaging 2.9 tackles, 2.1 interceptions and 0.8 clearances per game.
In addition, he has been making 1.2 dribbles each match and completing 89.6% of his attempted passes.
Therefore, especially when it is considered he is still a 20-year-old, Rice is performing well, while it must be added that he is doing so in a struggling team at club level.
Bent has a point that the expectation could be coming from the lofty price tag of £100m that has been placed on his head.
Rice is still learning, while he has deserved what he has managed to achieve in the game so far, with the fact that both Manuel Pellegrini and Gareth Southgate opt to play him being an indication that he is going in the right direction.