West Ham and England midfielder Declan Rice has labelled some of the criticism of him as “harsh”.
Former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness is among the most vocal critics of Rice, having claimed in a recent Sportsmail column that Rice is limited as a player because he has just one of three attributes – creativity, goalscoring and defending – required to be “worth your weight in gold” as a midfielder.
Ex-Man Utd captain Roy Keane has also claimed that Rice “hasn’t kicked on” as a player and that he “needs to do a lot more” on the pitch.
“He’s said some glowing things about me in the past and sometimes some things I can improve as well,” Rice said of Keane.
“You try not to let it affect you that much. I can take criticism on the chin quite well. If it is that way I can see where I can improve.”
And when asked about Souness’ words, Rice added: “It’s harsh, I think it’s harsh because Souness doesn’t watch West Ham every week.
“There’s loads of West Ham fans, 60,000 go every week, and see what I do. So I think to say I’m only good at one of three things is harsh.
“Souness was a top midfielder, a top player and when someone like him speaks you have to sometimes listen and take on board where you can improve if that’s true.”
Rice has found himself in a relegation battle with West Ham this season and has recently taken himself off of social media.
“I try not to read too much,” he continued.
“I don’t really know about anything that’s going on in the world at the minute because I’ve come off all that social media stuff. I couldn’t tell you who’s playing.
“My club performances are probably getting looked at more because of where we are in the league. Being captain my performances are scrutinised more, which I can take on the chin.
“There probably have been some games recently where I probably haven’t been at my best but there have been other games where I have been at my best.”