Bukayo Saka was great in England’s win over Serbia – But Declan Rice was even better

England opened their Euro campaign with a crucial victory over Serbia. The Three Lions were not as vicious as we had come to expect, but with the 1-0 victory, they now have three points and are on track to win the Euros.

Bukayo Saka undoubtedly dazzled in that match, but I was disappointed that Declan Rice is not getting much credit, despite also having a significant impact on the game.

Rice’s performance against Serbia was exceptional, displaying his value to the squad and ability to manage the tempo of the game in numerous facets. Our midfield engine played the entire 90 minutes against Serbia, proving his stamina and contribution to the team. He had 90 touches and made 78 precise passes (46 were forward). Though we had grown fond of him in an offensive role as Gooners, he was superb defensively on Sunday night, taking six defensive actions, winning three duels, and making two interceptions.

His willingness to give his best was clear, as he made ten recoveries and won one tackle. This made him the first player to re-gain possession 10 or more times at Euro 2024. As a strong ball carrier, he was effective in transferring the ball into the final third, completing seven passes, and creating one opportunity for his teammates.

His performance against Serbia, of course, demonstrated his improvement and development — he demonstrated his technical prowess, defensive abilities, and attacking potential.

How lucky are we that he an Arsenal player!

Sam P


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  1. Rice did well but with my scouting hat on , I was very impressed with Ivan Ilic of Torino when he came on in the second half for Serbia.While he is usually a DM he showed real power and energy going forward and was instrumental in the improved performance of the Serbs in the second half.6’1″ , aged 23 and left footed.Could he be the ideal replacement for Xhaka? One player to keep an eye on.

  2. The hurling (Balooning) of the ball forward by England golie against the huge Serbia players really disadvantaged the team. Pickford is a good shot stoper, but the team can not retain possession.
    I saw Forlan try to get the ball from him to build from the back. Even tall Harry was not a match on aerial balls.

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