Leonardo Bonucci has criticism for West Ham favourite Declan Rice
Juventus veteran Leonardo Bonucci has delivered some criticism at the door of West Ham ace Declan Rice, during an interview with The Athletic.
The two players did battle in the summer, during the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy. Bonucci, of course, scored Italy’s only goal.
West Ham ace Rice was a crucial part of England’s side, combining with Kalvin Phillips in the midfield pivot that got England into the final.
Eventually, Italy struck a cruel dagger in the heart of England players and fans – winning the game on penalties. Bonucci has reflected on the game.
He spoke about the arrogance of England’s ‘It’s Coming Home’, and Rice – who promised to be 10 times more focused than Italy’s midfield.
Speaking to TalkSPORT before the game, Rice said: “I assure you, we will be ready for it 10 times harder than they will.” Bonucci has not forgotten.
In conversation with The Athletic, Bonucci lambasted Rice for his comments and suggested that those claims drove Italy on to win.
“That song, and the comment from Declan Rice saying England were 10 times more motivated to win than us,” Bonucci recalled.
“They’re the mistakes young players make. You don’t say that. Never say you want something more or you’re better than somebody else.”
Bonucci on Rice: West Ham star will learn, with hindsight
Looking back on those comments made by Rice, it does feel like he produced Roberto Mancini’s pre-match team talk for him.
Yes, the song will have infuriated Italy’s players. The arrogance of the song has been spoken about before by Luka Modric – before a Croatia game.
The song is not supposed to come across like that, much the opposite – talking about the many years of England’s hurt and lack of trophies.
But for Rice to suggest England wanted the trophy more than Italy, is always going to back fire – especially in a European Championship final.
The likes of Jorginho, Marco Verratti and Italy’s other midfielders would have been fuming. Eventually, it might have contributed to the loss.