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Sam Allardyce has ripped into James McClean after he made 'overrated' comments about Declan Rice

Sam Allardyce has ripped into James McClean after he made 'overrated' comments about Declan Rice

McClean didn't hold back when talking about former Republic of Ireland teammate Declan Rice.

Sam Allardyce has hit back at James McClean after he described former Republic of Ireland teammate Declan Rice as being "very overrated".

McClean, who played alongside Rice at international level before the latter switched allegiance to England, delivered some headline-grabbing comments about the Arsenal midfielder on Wednesday night.

Speaking after Germany's 2-0 win over Hungary, the former Sunderland, West Brom and Stoke City winger made his feelings known whilst on punditry duty for RTÉ Sport.

"I think Declan Rice is very overrated," he said. "Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a very good footballer, but the way the English media wax lyrical about him is completely over the top.

"For me, he’s not world class. To me world class is someone who gets in every side in the world. I don’t think he does that.

"I don't think he gets in the Man City side ahead of Rodri. I know Toni Kroos is now retiring, but to me Toni Kroos is world class. [Kroos] dictates the game, Rodri dictates the game, I don't think Rice does that."

McClean added: "He's not someone who is going get on the half turn and play passes forward. He is very good at what he does.

"They play the same role, so why can't they do the same things? If you're going to give me this much hype and reputation, then surely he should be able to do what they do? That's get the ball on the half turn, play passes forward, and dictate the play. I don't think he does that.

"He's good at what he does. He sees danger and puts out fires, but for the hype that surrounds him, I don't think it's justified."

Two days after the comments were made and former West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has responded with a damning assessment of his own.

Appearing on the No Tippy Tappy Football podcast alongside Bolton legend Kevin Nolan, the topic about Rice being "overrated" was brought up in conversation.

"Who is he?" asked Allardyce, who initially laughed at the comments. "Who is James McClean, who is he?"

Kevin Nolan also reacted, saying: "I can’t believe he [McClean] said that and had the cojones, shall we say, to actually say that because Declan Rice is one of the best in the world at what he does."

Allardyce then shared his theory on why McClean made such a statement.

"He might be saying that to keep himself popular on the television," the former Everton boss said. "A lot of that criticism seems to be the way of the world today. If you want to be a pundit then you be controversial, and they'll keep you on."

Nolan added: "Just imagine what Declan Rice thinks of James McClean. For me, he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Steven Gerrard, and I’ve played with and against Steven Gerrard for years and years."

Rice was allowed to play for England as all three of his appearances for Ireland came in friendlies – a FIFA rule that meant he was free to change national teams.

Since making his debut for the Three Lions in 2019, Rice has made 52 appearances under Gareth Southgate.

Featured Image Credit: No Tippy Tappy Football - Getty Images - RTE Sport

Topics: Sam Allardyce, England, Declan Rice