Declan Rice reflects on competition with Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and Liverpool's Jordan Henderson for England start

DECLAN Rice admits competition for a start in England's midfield is fierce - and that whoever lines up against Germany will be buzzing.

Friday, 25th June 2021, 4:45 pm

West Ham star Rice has started all three of England's Euro 2020 group games alongside Leeds United ace Kalvin Phillips in centre midfield.

The duo both played the full match as England began their Euros with a 1-0 victory against Croatia in which Phillips played a more advanced role in the middle of the park and set up the winner for Raheem Sterling.

Rice and Phillips were then deployed in the same positions as England's second fixture of the group stage ended in a goalless draw against Scotland in which Rice and Phillips again played the full game.

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TOUGH BATTLE: For a start in England's midfield between West Ham's Declan Rice, above, Leeds United's Kalvin Phillips and Liverpool's Jordan Henderson. Photo by NICK POTTS/AFP via Getty Images.

For the third fixture in succession, the duo also started the Group D finale against the Czech Republic but Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate then made a change to his midfield during the half-time break.

With England 1-0 up through an early Sterling strike, Rice was taken off during the interval as Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson bagged his first competitive minutes since suffering a groin injury in February's Merseyside derby.

Henderson took up the more advanced position in the centre of midfield as Phillips slotted into his more recognised holding midfield role previously occupied by Rice

Southgate must now decide who starts Tuesday's last 16 clash against Germany at Wembley for which Rice says all of the options are champing at the bit.

"Of course, the competition is tough," said Rice at a pre-match press conference.

"On the 45 minutes, I don't know what the manager was thinking, maybe just a precautionary 45 minutes or to give Hendo 45.

"But everyone is ready.

"In training everyone is at it, everyone is tough with each other and of course everyone wants to play, it's England v Germany.

"Everyone is ready for it so whoever gets the nod to play, of course they are going to be buzzing but if you are not playing you are supporting the lads and if you get to come on you want to make an impact."

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Thank you Laura Collins