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Declan Rice: Intense pressure could hamper England's Euro 2024 performances

Declan Rice is concerned that the pressure of ending a 58-year wait for a major trophy could have a detrimental effect on England's Euro 2024 campaign.

England are in a good position to advance to the last 16 from Group C after drawing 1-1 with Denmark in Frankfurt on Thursday evening.

But the manner of the performance from the side picked by Gareth Southgate has led to criticism of both the players and the manager - including loud jeering greeting the final whistle at the Deutsche Bank Arena.

Offering an honest assessment of his own performance, Arsenal midfielder Rice conceded he "wasn't the best" he could have been on the night, while Southgate and captain Harry Kane also called for improvement against Slovenia next week.

Southgate said he thinks his squad may "care too much" about achieving something no senior men's England side has managed since lifting the World Cup in 1966.

Rice agreed with his manager when asked if it is hard to keep emotions in check at a major tournament: "Yes, I think we are all so desperate to do the country proud," he said.

"We are all so desperate to win, to be leaders, to go out there and give people memories for lifetimes and sometimes I maybe feel like we put too much pressure on ourselves where we could just go out there and let it just take care of ourselves.

"But look - two games, one win, one draw. And now we go into that last game. Our objective is always to qualify and I'm sure we can still do that.

"Look, we know we can be better, for sure, in and out of possession and there is lots to improve on which is a positive in a way.

"We'll be fine, we'll recover well, and we've got one more to go."

Southgate had led England to a World Cup semi-final and the final of Euro 2020, becoming the closest manager to match Alf Ramsey's success almost six decades ago.

With some of the players now at his disposal, there is arguably more expectancy on Southgate to deliver in Germany than at any previous tournament.

"I think there is probably more pressure now from the outside just because of the seasons some of our players have had," added Rice.

"If you look at the goals that our front four (Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden) have scored this year, it's over 100 between them.

"Of course there is expectation because they are the best players in the world. And that goes for everyone throughout the team. There's going to be that pressure.

"This is England, a major tournament. But look this is our job and this is what we have to deal with. At the end of the day it's us, we've played in high-pressure games, high-pressure environments.

"It's all about us on the pitch to be able to get it done and obviously a draw with not the best performance... I think as a group, even just speaking (in the dressing room) after we know we can be collectively better and we'll review it again and be ready for the next one."
 

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