James McClean claims Declan Rice is ‘overrated’

James McClean raised eyebrows in his punditry debut with RTÉ as he claimed Arsenal and England midfielder Declan Rice is “overrated” and “not world class”.

Arsenal signed Rice in a club-record £100 million deal in July 2023, and he was one of the key men for Mikel Arteta’s side as they pushed Manchester City close in the title race and reached the Champions League quarter-finals.

Former Republic of Ireland international McClean was on punditry duty for the Germany vs Hungary Euro 2024 clash on Wednesday.

Speaking about Germany attacker Jamal Musiala, McClean said he “justifies the hype”, adding “I feel Declan Rice is very overrated”.

The Wrexham winger added: “Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a very good footballer, but the way the English media wax lyrical about him is completely over the top.

“For me, he’s not world class. To me world class is someone who gets in every side in the world. I don’t think he does that.

“I don’t think he gets in the Man City side ahead of Rodri. I know Toni Kross is now retiring, but to me Toni Kroos is world class. He dictates the game, Rodri dictates the game, I don’t think Declan Rice does that.

“He’s not someone who is going to get on the half-turn and play passes forward. He is very good at what he does.”

James McClean and Declan Rice after a Republic of Ireland vs USA friendly. Photo: Inpho

When presenter Joanne Cantwell pointed out Rice is a “different type of player” to Rodri and Kroos, McClean doubled down on his criticism.

“They play the same role, so why can’t they do the same things? If you’re going to give me this much hype and reputation, then surely he should be able to do what they do? That’s get the ball on the half-turn, play passes forward, and dictate the play. I don’t think he does that.

“He’s good at what he does. He sees danger and puts out fires, but for the hype that surrounds him, I don’t think it’s justified.”

Some fans have accused McClean of being bitter over Rice switching international allegiance to his country of birth after he made three senior Republic of Ireland appearances with McClean.

Sourse: breakingnews.ie

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