Declan Rice told the mistake he is making for England at Euro 2024

Declan Rice has been a mainstay of England’s midfield under Gareth Southgate (Picture: Getty)

Owen Hargreaves has launched a passionate defence of Declan Rice but fears the Arsenal star is making a mistake that could cost England against Netherlands.

The 25-year-old has been a mainstay of the Three Lions’ engine room under Gareth Southgate and has started all five games at Euro 2024 so far.

Rice, however, has struggled to reproduce the form his displayed for the Gunners last season following his club record £105 million transfer from West Ham.

Hargraves, who occupied the same defensive midfield position for England with distinction during his own playing career, feels a degree of sympathy for a player he admires.

The former Manchester United and Bayern Munich does fear Rice has been guilty of trying to overcomplicate matters to compensate for England’s lack of drive in the middle of the park.

Speaking to Rio Ferdinand’s Vibe with Five channel, Hargreaves said: ‘I love Declan, I think he’s an amazing player. A really nice kid as well. Loves football and a student of the game which I like.

‘Declan’s way bigger than you think, I remember when I met him I was like wow you’re like 6ft 3in so I said you’re lucky you’re not a centre back with his size.

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Declan Rice celebrates England’s win over Switzerland with Ivan Toney (Picture: Getty)

‘I think he can be a world class defensive midfield player or he is on his way. I prefer him to play there.

‘When people are trying to make him this box to box midfield player, he can do it. But he says it himself he wants to be a defensive midfield player.

‘But it depends on personnel around him. If he’s got Odegaard he played a bit deeper for Arsenal.

‘With England he doesn’t really have his partner in there and that’s not really fair on him.

‘At Arsenal he knows Odegaard is there, Jorginho or Kai Havertz. There’s no patterns in our play so it’s difficult for him but I the thing I love about Declan is he always keeps pushing doesn’t make excuses.

‘I think he’s trying to do too much now and I would just simplify it. Play in front of the back four, keep it simple and hold the position. If you hold in the semi final it could be the difference between winning and losing it.’

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