Arsenal star Declan Rice breaks silence following England vs Slovakia controversy with subtle dig

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice.
-Credit: (Image: BBC Sport)

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice has spoken out for the first time since he was involved in a bust-up following England's dramatic Euro 2024 win. The Three Lions stalwart was involved in a heated altercation with members of Slovakia's backroom in the aftermath of Gareth Southgate's side's place in the last-eight of the tournament being secured.

The 25-year-old was seen being shoved by opposition manager Francesco Calzona as the Italian tactician moved to confront referee Halil Meler. Rice intervened but was subsequently pushed and reacted to the nudge before Aaron Ramsdale looked to cool tensions while other members of the Slovakian backroom staff expressed their anger at the Gunners record signing.

Rice had the last laugh as England will remain in Germany in preparation for Saturday's quarter-final against Switzerland in Dusseldorf. Calzona, Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and captain Milan Skriniar will begin their recovery ahead of the upcoming league season.

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Jude Bellingham and Harry Kane spared England's blushes as they found themselves on the brink of an embarrassing elimination. The 45th FIFA world-ranked nation led for over 70 minutes Ivan Schranz opened the scoring after 25 minutes after the Slovakians enjoyed a period of dominance in the first-half.

The Real Madrid star acrobatically brought the Three Lions level with a overhead kick in the sixth minute of second-half stoppage time in England first shot on target. Then immediately after the restart for extra-time, Kane headed England in front.

On social media, Rice was in high spirits after an important win for England after increasing tension following their Group Stage performances. He posted a picture with hero, Bellingham, captioned: "Never say die attitude," before sharing the post to his story with the caption: "(Two exploding head emojis) Wow. Onto the quarters we go. (heart emoji, smiling with teeth emoji)"

And speaking post-match, he said: "There's that inner-fight and spirit in us that a few Slovakian players said before the game that we didn't have. We proved that tonight, we'd die for each other out there and do anything to protect this manager, each other, keep going and keep fighting. What we've got tonight I think we showed it out there, we're going to keep going (and) giving it everything."

Bellingham was forced to speak out over misinformation spreading on social media regarding his goal celebration. An account on X claimed that the 21-year-old gestured in his crotch region towards the opposition dugout after his timely equaliser.

He quote tweeted the claim and said: "(yawn emoji and red cross emoji) An inside joke gesture towards some close friends who were at the game. Nothing but respect for how that Slovakia team played tonight (handshake emoji)."