Roy Keane believes Declan Rice should be given time to mature after the West Ham youngster had some difficult moments for England against Bulgaria.
Rice was dragged out of position in the build-up to a couple of chances for Bulgaria at Wembley, where England won 4-0.
But pundit Keane defended Rice when it was suggested on ITV that there might be question marks over his ability against better opposition.
Former Manchester United star Keane said: “His strength is obviously breaking things up, whereas today he got a lot of possession and that’s probably not one of his strengths.
“But he is still learning. He’s 20 years of age and you’ve got to go easy on him and give him chance to mature.”
Former Arsenal and England defender Lee Dixon also argued that Rice simply needs time to adapt to the international stage.
“He’s still learning his trade. He’s still a young lad,” Dixon said.
“When he first got in the side and was going that job everything seemed fine.
“Now against better opposition he might think he needs to be elsewhere and helping out other players.
“His job is just to sweep in front of those two centre-backs. He went chasing the ball a bit and went a bit missing a couple of times on their breaks trying to do things that aren’t his job. But that’s a learning process and he will learn.
“Against better opposition he’ll be tested more and more often than he was tonight.”
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