Declan Rice slams critics of Man Utd star after England setback

Declan Rice has jumped to the defence of Kobbie Mainoo amid criticism of the Manchester Unitedyoungster’s performance against Iceland.

One of the few positive things that came out of the Premier League giants’ poor season was the teenager’s explosive rise.

Though his winning goal in the FA Cup final last month sealed Mainoo’s own breakthrough campaign, the 18-year-old’s return to Wembley Sunday night told a different tale.

In front of an almost full house, England put on a disorganised performance and were eventually jeered out after a meaningless 1-0 loss.

Mainoo was only one of several players that shared some of the blame for Jon Thorsteinsson’s game-winning goal, and Rice maintains that his collaboration with the young star from United is still developing and has potential to blossom in Germany beginning with next week’s match against Serbia.

He said: ‘Yeah, look we done it in March and it was really positive. I can imagine tonight because we lost some people are saying stuff but that’s football these days. Kobbie’s young,

‘I’m young, our midfield options are young. Look, we’re going to learn every game and that’s the beauty of football.’

Responding to the frosty reception his players were met with at the final whistle, meanwhile, England manager Gareth Southgate said: ‘I completely understand. We didn’t play well enough to keep them excited within the game.

‘As I said, we had some very, very good chances that normally would be finished, which could have given a different complexion to the game, and, of course, would have affected the confidence of the opponent.

‘But that might also have masked some flaws that were apparent tonight.

‘From my perspective, I’ve learned a lot from the game, but no qualms with the supporters’ reaction.

‘To have the fans with you here obviously makes a massive difference, but you have to give them enough goalmouth action, you have to play well enough, press and win the ball with intensity to keep them with you during the game.

‘Tonight we didn’t do that, so we have to accept the reaction as it was.’

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