By Phil Spencer
Ally McCoist has urged Declan Rice to ‘get on with it’ following his complaints about the demands on footballers with the ‘obscene’ fixture schedule.
The West Ham captain has endured a busier couple of years than most after becoming a key player for the Hammers, competing in the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League last season.
Add into that his central role with England and this season’s Europa Conference League fixtures for his club, and it’s clear to see how the 23-year-old’s calendar is looking pretty full.
Rice made it clear he loves playing and wants to play as many games as he can, but the demands placed on footballers and their bodies in the modern to too much.
And things aren’t looking any better with a winter World Cup on the horizon in Qatar.
Discussing the fixture pile-up, Rice said: “I worked out last year from June 2021 to June 2022 I played 68 games. That is an obscene amount of games.
“You have got to stay fit, got to eat the right things, your nutrition has to be good and you have to be spot on throughout the whole year.
“Of course at some point it might take its toll but it is down to the player to find that balance. I am starting to do that again now, I am starting to feel good again and feel sharp.
“Hopefully I can keep pushing and as a team kick on in Europe and in the league as well. I always walk off the field knackered.
“I like to keep playing, to keep the momentum building. That’s where the confidence flies.
“When the season was closing up I was trying to see how many I could get.
“From the Euros to the end of the season was 68 and I was thinking: ‘How can I get 70 in?’
“I just wanted to keep pushing and get as many as possible. I feel like the more games I play… I don’t like to rest.
“You only get one career and you want to maximise that. When you hit that amount of games it is a proud moment for yourself.
“It shows the hard work you have put in. Before Silkeborg last month, I said to the manager that I wanted to play. I want to play in every game.”
But responding on talkSPORT Breakfast, McCoist was having none of it.
He said: “Too many games? Come on, Declan. Come on.
“You’re the same as me, just get on with it, Declan. Just get on with it, you’ve got a World Cup to look forward to, playing in some brilliant games.”
Responding to Alan Brazil’s comment that he’ll get some time off after the World Cup, McCoist added: “I’m sure Moyesy will give him a day off!”
Former Aston Villa captain Gabby Agbonlahor agrees with the Rangers legend.
Asked about Rice’s comments, he added: “That is a lot of games.
“When you think the Premier League is only 38, he’s had the European games and international games as well.
“But it’s what they get paid to do, isn’t it? Play football!”