Declan Rice's England call-up: The stats that show West Ham man deserves it
West Ham midfielder is in Gareth Southgate's England squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers
By Martin Laurence, WhoScored.com
Last Updated: 13/03/19 2:44pm
West Ham's Declan Rice has earned his first England call-up and here are the WhoScored.com stats that show why.
When Declan Rice announced his intention to represent England last month, having turned out for the Republic of Ireland at both youth and senior level, it was a decision the youngster claimed was "extremely difficult" to make.
The West Ham youngster explained: "In all honesty, [it's] not a decision I ever expected to be making at this stage of my career." The 20-year-old's rise this season has been dramatic after all, and with the midfielder improving with every game, it's little wonder why England expressed a clear interest in his services at international level.
The Three Lions aren't inundated with options with regards to the anchor in their midfield, or at least ones that have played consistently this season, let alone consistently well. Rice has done just that, so when he revealed the decision to switch allegiances in February there was a sense of inevitability as to what would happen next.
Indeed, the Hammers graduate has been drafted straight into Gareth Southgate's squad for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro and WhoScored.com can justify that call up with the numbers this season.
For a start, Rice has been a mainstay for his club, which isn't something you can say of any of the usual candidates to play in the more defensive-minded role in England's midfield. The 2386 minutes that he has played is over 800 more than Harry Winks, almost 1000 more than Jordan Henderson, almost twice as many as Eric Dier and more than three times that of Fabian Delph.
In that time the vast majority of West Ham fans would attest to the fact that their academy graduate has been their most dependable player, and for a player of his position that is invaluable. It's often said that every team needs a consistent '7/10' player, so it's fitting that Rice's WhoScored.com rating is 6.99 this season.
That score may seem modest, but it's a big increase on his competition for the holding role in England's midfield. That's due to his ability to break up play, and it's a skill that is somewhat lacking in the rest of the squad.
Rice's average of three tackles per 90 minutes is well in excess of usual suspects Dier (1.8) and Henderson (2.3) this season, while his interceptions (1.5 per 90) also surpass both players. Fabian Delph has averaged more of the latter (1.6) but it's worth noting that he has - when utilised - played at left-back for Manchester City this season.
As far as Harry Winks is concerned, his defensive output is comparatively weak, though his role in the Tottenham side is more one of recycling possession - which he does extremely well given a 91.8 per cent pass accuracy - rather than regaining it. That's where the quality of opposition will no doubt come into play, and perhaps one reason why Rice will see more action against stronger teams, despite his tender years.
He outscores his competition in terms of winning possession both on the ground - having done so in the midfield third the second most times of all Premier League players this season (138) - and in the air, with an impressive 60 per cent aerial duel success rate.
An 85.3 per cent pass accuracy shouldn't be sniffed at either and is stronger than that of Dier despite playing for a team that sees considerably less of the ball. It may not come close to that of Winks - for example - but Rice has looked composed in possession given his age and undeniably deserves his call-up as he attempts to do what none of his competitors really have and cement an England starting spot as his own.