Gareth Southgate’s England finally won their fight to help persuade young West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice to switch his international allegiance to England from the Republic of Ireland yesterday. When the 20-year-old announced he would play for the Three Lions from now on through his social media platforms.
But why have England fought tooth and nail to secure the international services of the starlet born and raised in London? Today we’re going to explain in a statistical tactical analysis, using data from this season so far, Rice’s third campaign at senior level.
The statistics we’re going to take an in-depth look at today can be found in the below graphic, provided by our good friends over at wyscout.com. The image contains Rice’s average general stats from 2018/2019 thus far in the three competitive competitions he’s featured in for the Hammers, the Premier League, Carabao cup and Emirates FA Cup.
The first per-90 minute stat from the image we’re going to be analysing, found beside a column with a heatmap for this period, showing his positioning in the centre of midfield, having been converted from a natural centre-back to a central defensive midfielder following his step-up to the first team in May 2017. Is average total actions and rate of success for this term.
Here, Rice manages an impressive 66.49 with a 72.7 per cent success rate and as we can see next to it, 0.04 goals. This is down to scoring his first professional goal this term, the winner against Arsenal at London Stadium in January, Manuel Pellegrini’s team’s last victory in any competition.
Interestingly, Rice has also added to his game creativity going forward in times more recent, adding an assist in the 8-0 cup thrashing of Macclesfield Town to bring his average up. The three-time former Ireland international is also averaging a high 0.53 shots with 26.4% accuracy and an expected goals rating of 0.04. Eye-catching for such a defensive player.
Passing really is in the Academy of Football graduate’s wheelhouse, however, and that’s evidenced by a fantastic average 90.5% pass accuracy and 56.3% accuracy on his longer trickier passes. Although it’s little surprise to see relatively poor crossing figures as he rarely finds himself in any kind of position to cross during matches.
This season, dribbling and duelling have been right up there in the strengths of the man tipped to become future captain for club and country as a natural leader. And the stats in this area really do speak for themselves.
An incredibly talented reader of the game, Rice is often compared to late Irons and England hero Bobby Moore and 5.35 interceptions per 90 minutes is certainly comparable to the man himself. And for a player that sees so much of the ball, to lose it a tad under six times per full match and make over 12 recoveries in the process is simply wonderful.
Discipline is a huge facet of any young star’s game and personality on the field and few are more disciplined than Rice for someone of his tender age. No red cards this campaign tells us that, though he will want to bring down his yellow card average of 0.07 a bit in the final few months of ‘18/19.
Overall, there can be little doubting Rice’s ability and consistency when we look at his average per-90 minute stats in all competitions so far this season. A seasoned professional at one of the “Big Six” clubs the 20-year-old is so often linked with would be happy with these figures, let alone a young charge in only his third campaign at this level.
In conclusion, our statistical analysis today has discovered that because of the high quality of the performances he produces week-in-week-out, as proven by the stats. England have fought tooth and nail to get Rice in their shirt and will be delighted to have succeeded.
One would heavily fancy Rice to be involved as soon as possible for Southgate’s 2018 FIFA World Cup semi-finalists. With their next matches coming in the form of UEFA 2020 European Championship qualifiers against the Czech Republic and Montenegro late next month. And with the summer’s Nations League finals and possible silverware in mind, the wonderkid will be keen to show the international scene what he has the domestic one.
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