In the last day, West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice has had his switch of international allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England confirmed by FIFA. This came after an application was sent by the 20-year-old following the announcement that he wishes to represent his country of birth on the international stage.
Rice‘s international future was still uncertain after months of making his mind up over which country he wished to represent, despite already playing for Ireland on four occasions, all of which were friendlies meaning he could still declare for England. The 20-year-old was born and raised in London but qualified to play for either nation due to his heritage, eventually choosing England.
The news came as a big boost for Gareth Southgate’s team ahead of a busy summer of UEFA European Championship 2020 qualifying and the UEFA Nations League finals to contend with. Rice having already made over 60 appearances in Claret & Blue in spite of his tender age and excelling so far under the reign of Manuel Pellegrini in 2018/2019 in a central-defensive-midfield role.
In the wake of Rice’s FIFA confirmation officially making him eligible to play for the Three Lions, today we’re going to statistically compare the starlet with his positional rivals in the England squad, should he be called up any time soon. These come in the form of Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Tottenham Hotspur man Eric Dier.
The statistics that we’re going to be basing our comparison on come from the below image, from our good friends over at whoscored.com. The figures are the three players’ overall stats with their respective clubs from the 2018/2019 Premier League season thus far.
Without looking beyond the first two stats in the image, we can see that Rice has played both more minutes and made more appearances than Henderson and Dier in ’18/19 thus far. This is down to injury struggles for the latter pair, while the Hammer has had no such problems, starting every league game since regaining his starting place in September.
You don’t have to delve too deeply into the graphic to see that it’s a tale of dominance from Rice, the man many believe should stride straight into Southgate’s starting Xl for qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro, across the board.
While he is matched by Dier in terms of goals scored on two and red cards on zero and Henderson is the winner out of the trio when it comes to both fewest yellow cards and pass accuracy, with zero and 87.9 per cent. Rice is king from the trio for shots per game, aerial duels won per game, Man-of-the-Match awards won and average WhoScored match rating.
Unsurprisingly, superiority in six of the stats makes Rice the resounding winner of our statistical comparison in this statistics-driven tactical analysis. Henderson is the only star to come close to his number of figures won, with his one individual stat win.
Does this mean that Rice should start at Wembley Stadium in 16 days? Not necessarily, although many members of the Claret & Blue Army will tell you so, as there are many factors that need to be taken into account. But what this does all mean is that Henderson and Dier now need to be looking over their shoulders as there is a new kid in town who could easily displace either of them in very quick time, to sit in front of England’s defence.
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