Declan Rice misses England training as Gareth Southgate given World Cup 2022 worry

Declan Rice of England after the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Round of 16 match between England and Senegal at Al Bayt Stadium on December 4, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar.

Midfield star Declan Rice missed training through illness as England prepare for Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final against reigning champions France.

The 23-year-old has started all four games for Gareth Southgate’s side in Qatar but was absent from the session at Al Wakrah Sports Complex on Wednesday morning. Back-up striker Callum Wilson also sat out as he recovers from a minor muscle strain.

There were 22 players involved in the session. Ben White left the squad last week due to a personal issue and Raheem Sterling headed back to England ahead of the last-16 win against Senegal due to a family matter.

Rice has been instrumental in England’s run to the last eight, striking up an effective partnership with teenage sensation Jude Bellingham – a duo further bolstered by Jordan Henderson in the 3-0 wins over both Wales and Senegal.

Southgate will be sweating on the availability of Rice, who has been crucial to his team during the tournament. The Three Lions are yet to be defeated in Qatar ahead of the quarter-final clash with France.

Many have put England as the underdogs for the match against the reigning champions. But Rice believes it is Southgate’s side who should be the team that are feared by the other sides remaining in the tournament.

“I don’t think we get the credit we deserve in our performances. I think if you look at other teams, like Holland and Argentina, they win their games comfortably and they get called masterclasses,” he said.

“With us, it always gets picked off. The negative things always come that way. If you look at the last couple of games, it’s been faultless. I think countries, like I said the other day, should be starting to fear us now because we’re a great team.

“We’re silencing the critics. Going into the tournament, there was a lot of talk that we don’t score enough goals. That’s another one we’ve kept people quiet on. There was a lot of scrutiny around the defence and conceding goals, but it’s been solid. We’re going to keep building and pushing.”

Rice played all 90 minutes as England eased past Senegal in the last 16. But the West Ham captain insisted that result would mean nothing if the Three Lions do not go on to make it to the semi-finals.

“There’s no point buzzing about tonight if we can’t push on and beat France. Against the big teams, there has always been a lot of talk on us using the ball. I think in this tournament we’ve pretty much controlled every game,” he added.

“We’ve had a fair share of possession, we’ve moved it really well. The opening stages have been really shaky because teams are really trying to stop us playing. But once we get that goal, they have to change. It opens up and then you really start to see us play.

“Against France, we’ve seen some weaknesses in them that we can try to exploit. It’s set up for a great game. These are the games we want to play in. They only come round once: England vs France, quarter-final, it doesn’t get bigger than that.”

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