Declan Rice says defensive lapses take shine off Kosovo win

England midfielder Declan Rice says the shine was taken off the Euro 2020 qualifying win over Kosovo by their defensive lapses.

The Three Lions roared back from conceding after only 34 seconds at St Mary’s to lead 5-1 at half-time, but a shoddy defensive display after the break saw it end 5-3.

All three of Kosovo’s goals came from individual mistake and the West Ham man was guilty of giving the ball away in the lead-up to the second goal.


After their early slip, the first half was a brilliant display of attacking football but Rice was left thinking of the negatives.

“I thought first half I was really good along with the rest of the team,” he said.

“In the second half I made a mistake and that has taken the gloss off it for me.

“We are a real threat going forward but we need to keep it tight at the back and stop making mistakes.

“We need to look at the goals we have let in. A mistake from myself, sloppy, I could have done better there and it takes the gloss off it.

“Now I am thinking I am not that happy, I have made a mistake they have scored, (Harry) Maguire’s given a penalty away, Keano (Michael Keane) made a mistake.

England v Kosovo – UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying – Group A – St Mary’s
Kosovo’s Vedat Muriqi (centre) battles for the ball with England’s Michael Keane (left) and Declan Rice during the UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying, Group A match at St Mary’s, Southampton (Adam Davy/PA)

“But it is part and parcel, we are never going to be perfect. The main thing is we got the three points and we are unbeaten.”

As with the Nations League defeat to Netherlands in the summer, the dangers of playing out from the back were highlighted with the way England conceded two of their goals as Keane and Rice gave the ball away in dangerous positions.

Rice insists England are not going to change their approach.

“The way we have been working all week on building from the back, playing through the lines, the manager is never going to change that,” he said.

“The manager is never going to go route one, he is going to live by that.

“We kept getting on the ball, we could have scored another two or three in the second half.

“It was really strange, conceding the goal in the first 30 seconds, it was tough to take mentally.

“You see how good we were in the first half to score five, how good we were going forward, the threat we had.

“First half I thought we were top, then second half I don’t know what happened, a couple of mistakes from me, the penalty and it looked like we had a tough task on our hands.

“Luckily enough we took control of the game, got a foothold and managed to see the game out.”