Declan Rice at £70 million is a move for United to avoid

Links between Declan Rice and Manchester United refuse to go away.

The Daily Mirror recently put United in the frame for a £70 million swoop for the West Ham United midfielder, who was of course part of the side which put the Reds to the sword at the London Stadium last month.

But for all Rice’s promise in the Premier League, his performances with England should put United off a big-money move. We’ve taken a closer look.

Rice struggling in esteemed company

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Young English players are always slammed by the press and rival supporters if they don’t quite live up to the hype.


There has been plenty of talk about Rice and with good reason. At 20, he has established himself as a Premier League holding midfielder and first choice for England.

So he isn’t the fraud he is sometimes made out to be when he struggles for England. It’s just that his inexperience shows up against tougher opposition.

Against the Netherlands in this summer’s Nations League, Rice’s distribution was found wanting and it was a major factor behind England eventually being outclassed.

He has since struggled to dominate proceedings against Kosovo and Czech Republic. Rice is worthy of a place in the England squad but his inexperience and flaws – which are inevitable given his age – are placed under sharper scrutiny there and United should take notice of that.

Another McTominay?

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Manchester United’s midfield is in need of a revamp, but a combative young holding player who gives his all for the shirt is perhaps the one thing they do have – in the shape of Scott McTominay.

Is Rice so much better than McTominay? Or worth £70 million? His international performances suggest not.

Rice will go on to have a very good Premier League and international career if he continues at his current rate, but a move to Old Trafford would not be right for either the player or United right now.

Until he establishes himself as a player who can put his stamp on games at international level, Rice remains around the level of McTominay, who has been the one good element of the United midfield this term.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.