Declan Rice disagrees with Liverpool legend over Kobbie Mainoo & makes strong England prediction

Declan Rice appears to have taken a differing stance from Liverpool legend Graeme Souness regarding Kobbie Mainoo’s inclusion in the England squad for Euro 2024.

Kobbie Mainoo, a 19-year-old midfielder, had an impressive debut season with Manchester United’s first team. His remarkable performances included scoring the winning goal and earning the Man of the Match award in the FA Cup final against Manchester City. This was not Mainoo’s only moment of glory at Wembley; he also received the Player of the Match award for England in his full debut against Belgium in March.

Mainoo’s ability to shine on major stages has been evident. However, Graeme Souness expressed skepticism about Mainoo’s readiness for the England squad when discussing his prospects last month. Souness, a former Liverpool player and manager, dismissed the idea of Mainoo being included in Gareth Southgate’s squad for Euro 2024.

When asked if Mainoo was prepared to play for England, Souness replied, “Not ready yet… you would say [to] play for England?” He further insisted that the focus should be entirely on business and that there was no room for easing the youngster into tournament football.

Contrary to Souness’s opinion, Gareth Southgate decided to include Mainoo and Crystal Palace’s Adam Wharton in the England squad, even though both players were far from the squad at the beginning of last season. This decision reflects Southgate’s belief in their potential and readiness to contribute at the highest level.

Declan Rice, a regular in the England squad, has been particularly supportive of these new additions. Rice has praised Mainoo’s inclusion, asserting that the young midfielder “clearly deserved” his spot on the plane to Germany. “I think we saw in the last camp against Belgium and Brazil what Kobbie could do,” Rice told reporters. “And obviously the last six months, all season really, what he’s done at Man United. He clearly deserves his place in the squad.”

Rice also spoke highly of Adam Wharton, noting his impressive performances. “Adam played his first half of the season in the Championship. He’s come from Crystal Palace now. He’s been outstanding, and I think in training, he’s impressed a lot of the players.”

Rice concluded by expressing optimism about the future of England’s midfield with the inclusion of these young talents. “So yeah, two great additions, and I see the future is looking bright for England in midfield.”

The contrasting views between Souness and Rice highlight the differing perspectives on youth integration into the national team. While Souness advocates for a cautious approach focused on immediate results, Rice and Southgate seem to recognize the value of nurturing young talent and providing them with opportunities to shine on the international stage. This debate underscores the broader conversation about balancing experience and youth in assembling a competitive and dynamic national squad.

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