Declan Rice claims Liverpool and Arsenal have two ‘great’ players in their ranks, they’re ‘leaders’
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Declan Rice claims Liverpool and Arsenal have two ‘great’ players in their ranks, they’re ‘leaders’

Declan Rice has claimed – via the Glasgow Times – that Scotland have two ‘great’ players in Arsenal and Liverpool defenders Kieran Tierney and Andrew Robertson.

The West Ham midfielder is preparing to face the Tartan Army with England at Euro 2020 on Friday. Scotland will need a result at Wembley after losing their opening group stage fixture to the Czech Republic, while Gareth Southgate’s men beat Croatia.

Rice is fully aware the Three Lions cannot take the eagerly-anticipated encounter likely. As players like Tierney, Robertson and Aston Villa midfielder John McGinn will present a threat.

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Rice has faced Steve Clarke’s leading men in the Premier League over recent seasons. The 22-year-old was on the losing side on each meeting with Liverpool last term, however. West Ham could also only hold Arsenal to a draw in the sole fixture that Tierney played.

Rice now expects the Liverpool and Gunners stars to play a leading role for Scotland at Wembley. That is should Tierney be fit, after missing the Czech Republic match after taking a knock in training.

“We want to focus on the Scotland game and repeat the same performance,” Rice said. “They’ve got some top players who play in the Premier League. Che Adams, McGinn and Scott [McTominay] in the middle are two warriors and Andy Robertson and Tierney at the back are great leaders and players.

“We are not going into it and say it is going to be easy, because that will be wrong. They are going to come and be physical and we need to match that and do more. We need to be ready, and we will be ready.”

Rice right to highlight Tierney and Robertson threat

Rice is right to highlight the threat of Tierney and Roberston for England, with the Arsenal and Liverpool pair both instrumental for their clubs and for Scotland. Southgate will be well aware of the danger they pose, as well, given their Premier League exploits.

But Tierney’s absence on Monday particularly exposed the gap he leaves in Clarke’s Scotland squad. The Tartan Army lacked the formidable partnership he has struck with Roberston, and it changed the way the side played.

Robertson was able to crop up anywhere on the left-hand channel with his trademark forward runs. But he also had to play a more instrumental role in how Scotland play out from the back without Tierney.

It also stifled play from reaching the likes of McGinn and McTominay, which England will now hope to replicate with Rice protecting Southgate’s backline in industrious fashion.

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