England are not getting the credit they deserve for their World Cup performances, so says Declan Rice, who claimed other nations will fear the Three Lions.

Despite a sluggish start to Sunday's match at Al Bayt Stadium, Gareth Southgate's side eased through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup with a 3-0 victory over Senegal.

Jude Bellingham starred as Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka scored to set up a tie with France on Saturday.

England have come under some criticism for their pragmatic approach to major tournaments under Southgate, yet after four games they are the top scorers in the competition with 12 goals, while they have conceded just twice at the other end.

"I'm delighted. It was a real top performance," Rice said.

"There was a lot of energy, some great goals. We knew Senegal posed a massive threat but we shut them down and now we march on.

"I've said it all along – we've not been getting the credit we deserve with our performances. If you look at other teams, like the Netherlands and Argentina, they win their games comfortably and it gets called a masterclass, but with us it always gets picked off.

"If you look at our last couple of games we've been faultless. Other countries should be fearing us now.

"I think we're starting to silence the critics. Going into the tournament there was always a lot of talk that we don't score enough goals - again, that's another one we've kept people quiet on. There was scrutiny around the defence and conceding goals but it's been solid so we're going to keep building and pushing."

Rice did add: "We're building a solid foundation and it's down to us now – there's no point being buzzing about tonight if we can't push on and beat France."

While Rice turned in a typically composed display at the base of England's midfield, Bellingham was the star of the show.

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder set up Henderson's opener and played a crucial role in Kane making it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time.

"He's thriving on the main stage," Rice said of the 19-year-old. "It makes me happy to see that, when you've got a player like that who is so strong and athletic, creating the chances he's creating.

"He's been doing it for Dortmund all season and is now doing it for us. It was a real collective team performance from us tonight all over the pitch, magnificent."

Of going up against France and the World Cup's leading goalscorer Kylian Mbappe, Rice said: "These are the game we want to play in. England versus France quarter-final – it doesn't get bigger than that. We've got six days now to prepare, we know the world will be watching and we want to progress."

Declan Rice and his England team-mates will never doubt Harry Kane, despite the Three Lions captain's failure to score in the World Cup group stage.

England scored nine goals en route to finishing top of Group B but Kane is yet to get off the mark in Qatar.

Kane, who won the Golden Boot in Russia four years ago and is just two behind Wayne Rooney's record haul of 53 Three Lions strikes, has created three of England's goals, becoming the first English player to provide three assists at a World Cup since David Beckham in 2002.

But Rice has full faith Kane will come up with the goods in the knockout stage.

"I don't think we should ever doubt Harry," the midfielder said at a press conference on Thursday. "His goalscoring record speaks for itself, what he's done for England.

"If you're looking, it's two assists now, against Iran for [Raheem] Sterling and the other night for Phil [Foden, against Wales].

"He's adapted his role now, where he likes to drop in a lot more, and link the play. I think that's where it's good, where we have fast runners.

"We're all rooting for him to score. He's our captain, that's what we need. I'm sure he will. He'll score in the knockout stages now."

Rice started his third game in a row at the tournament against Wales on Tuesday, but saw close friend Mason Mount dropped as part of a reshuffle.

The Chelsea playmaker has often come under fire on social media as a perceived favourite for Gareth Southgate, but Rice said Mount's achievements speak for themselves.

"I don't need to talk too much about Mase," Rice said. "You know he is one of the best players I've played with. I think that's why Gareth is so keen on him.

"He's just a team player. His numbers at Chelsea are incredible. He's won the Champions League, won the Super Cup, and for the rest of his career, he can go on and be whatever he wants to be.

"Let [him] go and do his thing. When he's doing that, it makes me happy seeing my good friend go and perform at the best level."

Declan Rice says performing on the biggest stage for England has only increased his desire to feature in the Champions League in the future, declaring: "you only get one career".

Rice has started all three of England's games at the World Cup in Qatar, helping the Three Lions top their group at the tournament for the first time since the 2006 edition in Germany. 

The West Ham midfielder has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea in recent years, and his solid international displays will have done little to reduce interest in his services. 

Asked whether his desire to reach the top of the club game had increased as a result of his time with Gareth Southgate's side, Rice said: "Yeah, 100 per cent. 

"For the last two or three years I have been saying that. I have been playing consistently well for [my] club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing.

"I see my friends here who are playing in the Champions League and for big trophies. 

"You only get one career, and at the end of your career you want to look back at what you have won and the biggest games you have played in. I am really ambitious."

Rice has made seven interceptions at the World Cup so far – at least five more than any of his England team-mates, while only Jude Bellingham (18) and Luke Shaw (17) have recovered possession more often than he has for the Three Lions (14).

England take on Senegal for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday, having progressed through five of their previous seven last-16 ties at the World Cup (failing to do so against Argentina in 1998 and Germany in 2010).

England have a good enough squad to win the World Cup and should be feared by other competing nations, according to Three Lions midfielder Declan Rice.

Gareth Southgate's side finished top of Group B with seven points after beating Iran 6-2 and Wales 3-0 either side of a goalless draw with the United States.

It is the first time since 2006 that England have finished top en route to the last 16, where Group A runners-up Senegal now await on Sunday.

Following shock defeats in the group phase already for France, Argentina, Belgium and Germany, Rice believes England's serene progress is a sign they mean business.

"I didn't see the France [loss to Tunisia] last night. I saw the result and there have been a lot of shocks in this tournament," he said at a press conference on Thursday. 

"You can't take anything for granted. That's why we're doing so well and maybe why we are not getting the credit we deserve.

"It could have been banana skins for us in any of the three games, but we've done well in all of them. 

"We've seen big nations lose but we have not put ourselves in a position where we've felt under pressure. We've always felt in control of the group.

"When you start to play better teams, your level goes up. These are the games you want to be involved in and get remembered forever. We'll be ready for those type of games.

"Other nations will always look at us and the quality that we have in the squad. Why should we not be feared?

"If you look at our attacking players, we have world-class, unbelievable talents across the board. Across the whole team, we have players who have won the biggest trophies."

 

England have not lifted the World Cup since 1966 and Rice accepts that partly explains why his side are perhaps not as fancied as others to go all the way in Qatar.

"We're one of the biggest teams here. It's down to us to prove it on the pitch," he said. "Teams like France have won World Cups and done it consistently. We want to change that.

"All those big nations, we want to show that we're here. We are not here for the round of 16; we want to go all the way."

The nine goals scored by England is the most they have ever managed in the group stage at a major tournament.

Rice is one of seven players to have started each of England's matches in Qatar and he was also a regular in their run to the Euro 2020 final, which they lost to Italy on penalties.

The West Ham midfielder is hoping to use that feel-good factor created last year to propel England to an even bigger achievement this time around. 

"It was obviously COVID back then so we couldn't see anyone, friends or family," he said. "But we saw videos of the fans back home and it brought all the fans together.

"We will try to keep going, try to lift everyone. It's obviously really close to Christmas now, so hopefully we'll give them the best Christmas present."

Cristiano Ronaldo became a free agent earlier this week after mutually agreeing with Manchester United to terminate his contract.

Ronaldo's availability has prompted numerous clubs to weigh up moves for the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Brazilian giants Flamengo and Saudi Arabian powerhouse Al Hilal have been linked with Ronaldo in recent days.

AL NASSR OFFER LUCRATIVE DEAL TO FREE AGENT RONALDO

CBS claims Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr have offered Cristiano Ronaldo a three-year deal worth £186m.

The deal would see Ronaldo play into his 40s, with Al Nassr having resumed talks with his representatives having initiated them in the close season.

An unnamed Saudi Arabian club reportedly made an offer for the 37-year-old Portuguese prior to the start of this campaign.

Al Nassr are nine-time Saudi Arabian champions and ex-Lyon and Roma boss Rudi Garcia is their head coach.

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Cody Gakpo and Milan's Rafael Leao are top of Erik ten Hag's wish list to replace Ronaldo at Manchester United in January, claims ESPN.

- Arsenal are set to beat Newcastle United to sign Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Mykhailo Mudryk for approximately £40 million, reports The Mirror.

- Bayern Munich are the latest club to enter the race to sign West Ham's England international Declan Rice, according to El Nacional.

- Juventus are planning a move for Athletic Bilbao winger Nico Williams, reports AS. Williams is contracted with Athletic until 2024.

- Milan are keen on Salzburg forward Noah Okafor, with the Austrian club asking €35m for him, according to Calciomercato.

Declan Rice believes the stern criticism England received ahead of the World Cup allowed them to play with "fire in our bellies" in Monday's 6-2 thrashing of Iran.

Gareth Southgate's team faced heavy scrutiny following their humiliating Nations League relegation in September, having failed to win any of their six games in the competition.  

However, they cast aside any doubts over their form by recording England's biggest win in an opening match at any major tournament.

Jude Bellingham, Raheem Sterling, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish scored and Bukayo Saka added a double at the Khalifa International Stadium.

"There were doubts about us before the tournament and we wanted to prove a lot of people wrong," Rice said.

"There has been a lot of talk about us not winning in our last six matches. By our standards, with the players we have got, we know that it hasn't been good enough.

"But this was a World Cup stage, and you could see there was a fire in our bellies.

"People will say, 'It's only Iran', but they have had some good results at past World Cups. In September, they beat Uruguay and drew with Senegal.

"It was a real positive performance, but we can't get too ahead of ourselves. It's the USA next and they are going to be another level up.

"First game, first win. We can't ask for any more."

England's next Group B contest sees them take on the United States – who they have never beaten in a World Cup match (D1 L1).

However, the Three Lions have won eight of their 11 meetings with the USA (D1 L2) in all competitions, with their last defeat to the Stars and Stripes coming in 1993.

Liverpool are reportedly keeping a close eye on Declan Rice's performances for England at the World Cup, and will prepare a move for the West Ham midfielder if they feel he handles the pressure of the big stage.

Rice, 23, played in all seven games for England in their run to the Euro 2020 final, and he has played in every minute of West Ham's 15 fixtures this Premier League season.

The defensive midfielder is a favourite of manager David Moyes, who declared in April that his price had risen to such an extent that "£150m just now would be minimum" – but his contract situation could force the club's hand.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL WATCHING IF RICE CAN RISE TO THE CHALLENGE

According to Football Insider, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is a "huge admirer" of the man with 35 international caps already under his belt, but he still wants to see more.

The report claims Liverpool will be paying attention to "how Rice copes with the type of scrutiny and huge-game pressure he does not get at West Ham, who do not compete in the Champions League or challenge for trophies".

Rice's contract ties him to the club until 2024, although there is a club-option to extend the contract for an extra year.

He turned down a bumper new deal earlier this year that would have paid him £200,000 per week, indicating this will likely be his last contract with West Ham, and that factor will drive his price down the longer the club waits.

 

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- Sport are reporting Manchester City are close to locking up Pep Guardiola on a new contract through 2025.

- According to 90min, Tottenham are eyeing Everton's Jordan Pickford, Brentford's David Raya and Brighton's Robert Sanchez as potential replacements for 35-year-old club captain Hugo Lloris.

- Chelsea's Christian Pulisic will likely be headed to the Serie A, per Fichajes, with Inter and Juventus said to be competing for his signature in January.

- AS are reporting Atletico Madrid will loan out Joao Felix in January after a lack of transfer interest.

- Newcastle United will make another run at 21-year-old Watford forward Joao Pedro, according to Football Insider, after having a £30m offer rejected before the season.

Declan Rice saluted "another incredible night for our academy" after a much-changed West Ham stormed to a 3-0 victory over FCSB in the Europa Conference League.   The Hammers became the first side to progress from the group stage with a 100 per cent record, thanks to Pablo Fornal's double and a Joyskim Dawa own goal.   With qualification already secured, David Moyes handed starting debuts to youth graduates Oliver Scarles and Divin Mubama, who played a crucial role before the own goal, while Kaelan Casey and Kamarai Swyer also made their senior bows from the bench.   Club captain Rice, who himself came through the Hammers' renowned youth system, was left out of the matchday squad, but posted on social media: "Another incredible night for our Academy."

Meanwhile, Moyes heaped praise on his young side, particularly the starting duo of Scarles and Mubama.

"Hopefully, we are getting future pressure on the boys in the first team," he told BT Sport. "All the boys played really well. We could have scored more goals.

"I thought Oliver Scarles played exceptionally well. Divin got a goal; I know it is being classed as an own goal, but he is a young centre forward, and you could see how much it meant for him to score.

"They have a great spirit in the Under-23s. There is a great spirit at West Ham and everyone is pleased for these young players.

"Everybody wants an opportunity, you just hope they can grab it and I thought both of them did tonight."

Barcelona, Liverpool and Chelsea are reportedly all interested in 21-year-old Benfica midfielder Enzo Fernandez.

Fernandez arrived at Benfica from River Plate just four months ago in June for a fee of €10million, and immediately took the Primeira Liga by storm, with the league naming him August's player of the month.

He has since helped Benfica to an undefeated record in both the league (8W 1D) and the Champions League (2W 2D), playing in every game, and his exploits in back-to-back draws against Paris Saint-Germain seem to have convinced some of the world's top clubs that he is up to the level.

TOP STORY – WORLD POWERHOUSES CLAMOUR FOR 21-YEAR-OLD BENFICA MIDFIELDER

According to a report from Sport, Barcelona had the chance to sign Fernandez for €10m but opted against it, allowing Benfica to swoop in, and he is now said to be valued at over €50m.

That figure could continue to rise as well. Having made his senior international debut for Argentina in September, Fernandez could play a significant role in his country's World Cup campaign as they enter the tournament on a 35-match unbeaten streak.

The report claims Barcelona will face opposition from Premier League giants Liverpool and Chelsea, and while there is no indication that Benfica would be willing to let Fernandez go six months into a five-year contract, the club that specialise in turning a profit in the transfer market could be faced with an offer they cannot refuse.

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– 90min is reporting Chelsea have made Napoli striker Victor Osimhen their priority forward target, following reports they are also heavily interested in RB Leipzig's Christopher Nkunku and Lille's Jonathan David.

– According to Sky Sport in Germany, Everton have also been keen on Lille's David, with the 22-year-old Canadian tied with Neymar for the most goals in Ligue 1 this season (nine in 11 games).

– The Evening Standard is reporting Chelsea are also weighing up moves for Borussia Dortmund's teenage English star Jude Bellingham, as well as West Ham's Declan Rice.

Arsenal are said to be joining Barcelona and Real Madrid in the chase of 16-year-old Palmeiras striker Endrick, per FourFourTwo.

– Calciomercato claims Milan are considering a move for Chelsea's Hakim Ziyech in January, with Chelsea said to be open to a loan move for the 29-year-old.

Chelsea's admiration of 23-year-old Milan forward Rafael Leao is not a secret.

The Blues, along with several other clubs including Manchester City, are keen on the Portuguese.

Chelsea have also been linked with Christopher Nkunku in recent days but are plotting ways to land Rafael Leao too.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA AND MILAN PLOTTING SWAP DEAL

Chelsea and Milan are considering a swap deal whereby Rafael Leao would join the Blues, claims Calciomercato.

Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi would be part of the deal, although the Italian champions would still demand a £90million fee for the Portuguese.

According to the report, Milan will use their Champions League game on Wednesday against the Blues at Stamford Bridge to talk with Pulisic, along with Trevoh Chalobah.

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– 90min claims that West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is top of Chelsea's transfer wish list. The Hammers slapped a £120m price tag on the England international in the off-season, although that will likely drop as the length of his contract shortens.

– Football Insider claims Arsenal have reached an agreement in principle with 21-year-old winger Bukayo Saka on a new contract. Saka's current deal expires in 2024.

Everton are eager to use the option-to-buy trigger in Conor Coady's loan deal from Wolves, claims The Times. Coady would cost the Toffees less than £10m.

Nottingham Forest boss Steve Cooper could be sacked by owner Evangelos Marinakis, according to The Mail, with The Guardian linking Rafael Benitez with the role along with ex-Burnely boss Sean Dyche.

– Fabrizio Romano reports that former Inter and Lazio midfielder and Red Star boss Dejan Stankovic has reached a full agreement with Sampdoria to become the Italian Serie A club's new manager to replace the sacked Marco Giampaolo.

Jose Mourinho is set to be offered a new contract by Roma, potentially keeping him in the Italian capital until 2026, reports La Repubblica.

– Sport1 claims ex-Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has declined the opportunity to take over at Bayer Leverkusen amid their poor start to the season.

Declan Rice has described Jude Bellingham as "the future of English football", claiming his international midfield partner is the most talented 19-year-old he has ever seen.

Although England suffered relegation from the top tier of the Nations League last week, Bellingham has done no harm to his chances of starting at the upcoming World Cup during the international break. 

With Manchester City's Kalvin Phillips enduring an injury-blighted campaign, Bellingham started alongside Rice in matches against Italy and Germany, impressing in a box-to-box role.

In Monday's 3-3 draw with Germany, Bellingham led England's charts for passes completed (41), touches (67), touches in the opposition box (six), duels won (eight), tackles won, interceptions and fouls won (all three).

Rice believes the Borussia Dortmund star's all-round ability is unique for someone of his age, telling the Daily Mirror: "I don't think I've seen anyone as good as he is for 19.

"I look at a lot of 19-year-olds, whether it's at a club, around the world, around the country. To have the whole package is a hard thing and I feel like he's got that.

"He's 19 but he's got the body of a 28-year-old – he's a man. He thinks like a man, plays like a man and shows personality and character. 

"I've been around and played so many more games than he has in my career, but you can just tell as a 19-year-old what he brings to the team already, the energy he's got.

"He can play in a holding role, he can play as an eight, he can play as a 10.

"He's a man – you can see it when he plays for Dortmund. As a 19-year-old, you're normally scared to talk to the referee but he's in the referee's face demanding answers, demanding decisions and he leaves himself on the pitch constantly. 

"He really pushes you on the pitch. We push each other on and it's a privilege to play next to him.

"Every time I play with Jude, we're building that connection and I say to him; 'you go and bomb on and do your attacking stuff and I'll sit here and defend for you'. So we're getting that good connection, he's great to play with.

"Hopefully, he keeps flourishing. He's the future of English football to come for the next 15 years."

While Bellingham's individual displays have earned rave reviews, England will begin the World Cup – against Iran on November 21 – having gone six games without a win (D3 L3).

This is their longest such run going into a major tournament, but Rice believes the Three Lions were much improved against Germany, adding: "We're sticking with a formation that needs work and we're working on that in training all the time. 

"I feel like there's positive signs there. It's just a blip at the moment but that was a massive, positive step."

England midfielder Declan Rice has called for calm after defeat to Italy extended the Three Lions' winless streak to five games.

Giacomo Raspadori's strike at San Siro condemned Gareth Southgate's side to relegation to League B in the Nations League and marked England's longest run without a win in competitive matches since October 1992.

With just 90 minutes of football and 56 days until the World Cup campaign in Qatar begins against Iran, concern is rising, but Rice has promised there will be improvements.

"It's obviously disappointing. Every tournament we go into, we set out to win," he told Channel 4 after the loss.

"In the Nations League we have slipped below our standards, but I didn't think it was all bad tonight.

"It's coming. It was a much better performance tonight than we saw in the summer.

"It's not that we're not creating the chances. I see it in training. There are goals for fun. Trust me, we are going to be good."

England's drop in form has come alongside a barren run in front of goal, having gone 495 minutes without a goal in open play – the last being Raheem Sterling's strike in a friendly against the Ivory Coast in March.

Southgate's side face Germany at Wembley on Monday to bring an end to a disappointing Nations League campaign, before the countdown to the World Cup truly begins.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has hit out at a VAR call that went against the Hammers on Saturday, labelling it a "shambles".

Chelsea came from behind to beat West Ham 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, where the visitors saw a 90th-minute Maxwel Cornet effort ruled out.

VAR looked at the goal and the strike was ruled out due to a foul from Jarrod Bowen on goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, sparking a furious response from the Hammers.

David Moyes declared it was "scandalous" in his post-match comments and West Ham captain Rice agreed, taking to social media to share his thoughts in a series of tweets.

"That's up there with one of the worst VAR decisions made since it's come into the game. Shambles," read the first post, alongside a laughing emoji.

"Can't believe the referee has even been asked to go take a look at the monitor! Cannot see how they've come to that decision."

"Sorry for the frustration but there is so much at stake! To have that go against you in the 90th minute is gutting! Onto the next one we go."

The defeat maintained West Ham's slow start to the season, in which they've won just one of their opening six matches.

The Hammers will turn their attention to Thursday's UEFA Conference League group stage opener against Romanian side FCSB, before hosting Newcastle United next Sunday.

That’s up there with one of the worst VAR decisions made since it’s come into the game. Shambles 

— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) September 3, 2022

Manchester United must start being active in the transfer market amid links to the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Christopher Nkunku, otherwise they risk failing to rebuild under Erik ten Hag.

That is the message from United great and television pundit Gary Neville, who warned that late transfer activity will only make Ten Hag's task tougher.

Ten Hag faces a sizeable rebuilding job after inhering a United side that finished with their lowest ever points tally in the 2021-22 Premier League campaign.

The Red Devils also failed to end a league campaign with a positive goal difference (zero) for the first time since the 1989-90 season.

Paul Pogba is heading for the exit door at the end of June when his contract expires, along with Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata, as Ten Hag looks to leave his mark at Old Trafford.

Reports have linked United to numerous players, such as Nkunku, De Jong and Christian Eriksen, while Ten Hag's former Ajax players Jurrien Timber and Antony have also been floated as options.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice and Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres may appear more far-fetched options, but Neville says United must get to business otherwise their already difficult task will become even harder.

 

"The others seem set and ready, yet United can't get moving," Neville wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

"[Ten Hag] needs his group together [as soon as possible] to mould them. Bringing them in late will only make it harder for him. [Fingers crossed] it happens soon!"

Ten Hag will hope to have a busy transfer window ahead of the first Premier League game of the 2022-23 season when United will host Brighton and Hove Albion on August 7.

It will be the Dutchman's first competitive game in charge of the Red Devils, who will play their opening top-flight match at home for a sixth straight season – the longest current run of any Premier League side.

Speculation over Declan Rice's future has long centred on an apparently inevitable departure from West Ham United.

The Hammers run to the Europa League semi-final has amplified talk around the England international midfielder, with Chelsea and Manchester United linked.

According to reports, though, the 23-year-old appears content at London Stadium with a World Cup on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – DECLAN RICE TO STICK WITH WEST HAM    

Declan Rice will not leave West Ham despite interest from Manchester United and Chelsea, according to The Mirror.

The 23-year-old has been reticent to sign a new deal at the club, but he is reportedly in no hurry to leave yet either, seemingly wanted to stay settled ahead of November's World Cup in Qatar.

United have looked to Rice as one of their primary transfer targets as Erik ten Hag looks to overhaul the squad, but Rice appears set for one more season at West Ham following their run to the Europa League semi-final this term.

Hammers management had previously advised that Rice is not for sale, and strong performances at the World Cup with England would likely only increase his already lofty market value.

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are showing interest in Milan's Rafael Leao after Kylian Mbappe opted to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, according to Marca.

– Los Blancos are also looking to scupper Liverpool's move for Aurelien Tchouameni, despite the player having already agreed terms with the Reds so say The Mirror.

Barcelona are discussing personal terms with Marcos Alonso, who is set to leave Chelsea, Fabrizio Romano reports.

– Arsenal defender William Saliba wants to stay at Marseille, where he has been on loan, per Goal.

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