Declan Rice insists ‘100%’ of Premier League players want fans back in stadiums


Declan Rice has backed plans for fans to return to stadiums, saying every player is “100 per cent” behind it.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is set to be asked about the return of supporters to venues on Wednesday, on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee, in what has proven one of the most contentious issues in football. Rice said the players are fully behind it.

“Look, I see the campaign, LetFansIn, and I’m all for it. I think if you asked half the Premier League players – probably all of them – if they wanted fans back, they’d all tell you 100 per cent.

“Obviously the circumstances we’re in that’s not happening, but I think there has to be a time now where we can start letting fans back in.

“I think the other day I saw a game at [Borussia] Dortmund where they let 12,000 in and I think that’s the way we’ve got to start going, to let them back in gradually.

“It’s really odd playing without fans. Obviously on the pitch you don’t feel the atmosphere as much. You feel it yourself that you’ve got to perform well but from the fans it gives you that extra edge.

“Without them here, it’s really hard so hopefully by the time [Euro 2020] comes everyone’s back in, we’re back to normal and we can get the fans back on our side because it’s really odd not having them here and in the Premier League.”

Rice meanwhile said he sees holding midfield as his short-term future in terms of position. The West Ham United star earned his 10th cap on Sunday, with all of his England appearances coming in that role.

“Well, look, I’ve now had two full seasons at West Ham and obviously the start of the season playing in the middle. In every game that I’ve played so far for England I’ve played in the middle.

“So, for sure, my short-term future, of course, I see myself playing in the middle. I love playing there.

“It’s always an honour to come here and be picked by Gareth [Southgate] to play in that position.

“Obviously I’ve still got so much to learn whereas at club we have a different style of play and when I come here I have to adapt to the way that Gareth wants to play.

“I’m always needing to improve on stuff, for sure.

“When I come here as in building up from the back, offering myself off the ball, like the top players do – little angles off the ball to play bounce passes

“There are definitely things I need to work on but, for sure, I see myself as a holding midfielder for the near future.

“But I’ll never rule myself out of me going back either in back three or a back four. I’m confident to go back there and slot in, for sure.”

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