'I'll tell you now' - Declan Rice makes passionate Trent Alexander-Arnold claim after criticism

-Credit: (Image: ITV Sport)
-Credit: (Image: ITV Sport)

Declan Rice has slammed Trent Alexander-Arnold’s critics, calling out ‘half the country’ in a passionate defence of the Liverpool star.

The Reds vice-captain has started in midfield alongside the Arsenal man in both of England’s games at Euro 2024 so far, only to be withdrawn early by Gareth Southgate in favour of Conor Gallagher in two poor performances by the Three Lions against Serbia and Denmark.

After a 1-1 draw with the Danes, Southgate admitted that playing Alexander-Arnold in midfield was an experiment before bizarrely claiming that England were missing Kalvin Phillips - who failed to make the squad after two poor seasons with Man City and on loan at West Ham United.

READ MORE: Mohamed Salah signed for Saudi club leaving Brazilian team-mate confused

READ MORE: Pep Lijnders reveals the question Jurgen Klopp asked before deciding to leave Liverpool

Alexander-Arnold has faced mass scrutiny and criticism throughout the European Championships, with a whole host of pundits, including Manchester United legends Roy Keane, Wayne Rooney and Gary Neville, hitting out at the decision to keep playing the right-back in midfield.

England, who still top Group C despite their unconvincing displays, take on Slovenia in their final group game on Tuesday night as they look to cement their place in the knockout stages. It remains to be seen if Southgate intends to make changes with Alexander-Arnold’s place in the team under threat as a result.

Yet Rice has issued the perfect response to the backlash his midfield partner has faced, insisting the Liverpool star is one of the best players he has ever seen and more than capable of playing in the engine-room.

“It’s funny because people were calling for Trent to play in midfield,” he told ITV. “Half the country are calling for Trent to play in midfield.

“You play him in midfield and then you want to bring him down. I don’t get it. I don’t get it at all.

“I’ll defend all of my boys until the day I never put on an England shirt. Trent is one of the best players I’ve ever seen. Don’t call for someone to play in a position and then backtrack, all because you think he’s had a bad game or something.

“I’ll tell you now, Trent can play in midfield. I’ve seen it at England; I’ve seen it for Liverpool. He’s unbelievable. That’s what I say to people that you see saying that type of stuff.”