Declan Rice urges England to finish 2023 with a ‘bang’ in North Macedonia
Declan Rice has called on England to end an unbeaten 2023 with a “bang” by winning their final Euro 2024 qualifier away to North Macedonia.
England have not suffered defeat since their World Cup quarter-final exit at the hands of France last December and sealed their spot at next summer’s finals with two games to spare.
Rice’s Arsenal team-mate Bukayo Saka hit a hat-trick in a 7-0 thrashing of North Macedonia in the reverse fixture at Old Trafford in June.
After a drab 2-0 win over Malta on Friday, Rice is keen for England to put in a better showing to bring the curtain down on a strong calendar year.
“I think especially the other night after Malta there is just a bit of pride in ourselves that we need to raise our level,” the Arsenal midfielder said.
“We need to put out a statement and it would be a good way to end the year. We are currently unbeaten since the World Cup so it is down to us to go out tomorrow night, put on a performance.
“You need to be mentally prepared, have the right mentality and be ready for a hostile environment and make sure we go out of this year with a bang. We will be ready for whatever they throw at us.”
We need to put out a statement and it would be a good way to end the year
Rice will collect his 48th cap in Monday’s game and the former West Ham captain admits he was “gutted” that a controversial VAR call cost him a fourth England goal in the Malta win.
Just moments after Harry Kane had doubled the lead, Rice charged forward and drove home a fine finish that was ultimately ruled out for offside against Kane.
“To be honest with you, going back to the other night I was gutted,” he said.
“When I picked the ball up and drove through and bent one into the far corner, I was buzzing because I don’t really