West Ham’s Declan Rice looks to have established himself as England’s holding midfielder now.

Gareth Southgate wants protection for his back three and generally relies on Rice to provide in any game which matters at all.

Jamie Carragher made the point during Sky Sports Main Event’s coverage of England’s 4-0 stroll against Iceland last night that Rice is one of the first names on the teamsheet now.

At 10:15pm, 18/11, Carragher also said he feels Rice has had too much criticism hurled his way in the last 12 to 18 months.

England v Iceland - UEFA Nations League
(Chloe Knott – Danehouse/Getty Images)

“Declan Rice has (nailed down his England spot),” said Carragher of the man who opened the scoring last night. “We’re talking about who are the first names on the teamsheet – he is one of them.

“In the last 12 months or so, there was such a big buildup, he got in the England team and he got a bit of criticism – which I thought was harsh. I’m a big fan of Declan Rice.

 

“I don’t think he gets enough credit for his passing ability, I really don’t. That position is about keeping things ticking. He gets a bit too much criticism. His passing is much better than he’s given credit for.”

Rice has found that the scrutiny on international duty is fierce and Carragher feels a lot of that criticism has been harsh.

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(MICHAEL REGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s easy to agree. Rice is a steady, mature player and he plays that role very well for England.

Southgate didn’t have anyone who could do that at World Cup 2018, so Jordan Henderson was deployed in front of the defence.

Rice is a more natural fit as a holding midfielder and should grow in confidence even more after netting his maiden international goal.

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