England can ‘do something special’ at Euro 2024, says Rice

Declan Rice says England can “do something really special” at Euro 2024 as Gareth Southgate’s team jetted to Germany following a royal send-off on Monday.

England are among the favourites to win the European Championship, three years after falling agonisingly short in the final of the last edition of the tournament at Wembley.

Midfielder Rice says there is a belief in the group that they can be crowned kings of Europe for the first time and win England’s first major trophy since the 1966 World Cup.

“We want to make history,” said the Arsenal midfielder. “We say it all the time, but genuinely we have a group, a manager, that really believes.

“We have a confidence that we can go there and do something really special and, of course, with that comes hard work.

“That is going to be the main thing — the hard work as a team, unity, togetherness and with everyone behind us at home.

“We’re going to feel that for sure, so stick with us, be positive and let’s see what happens.”

Rice was speaking before heading to the airport from St George’s Park, England’s national football centre, where flag-waving children gave the team a lively send-off.

“We’re about to go and play a tournament for our country,” said Rice. “It’s a privilege, an honour and it feels very real now. When you start to do things like this, it starts to feel real.

“You can have all the build-up in the world, but when you know you’re travelling and that, it’s proper now.”

Prince William, the president of the Football Association, travelled to St George’s Park on Monday to wish the players luck and present them with their shirts.

England, who kick off their Euro 2024 campaign against Serbia on Sunday, suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Iceland in their final friendly last week.

But Rice said the disappointment does not detract from what was a beneficial 10-day training camp.

“It’s obviously difficult when you finish the league,” the 25-year-old said on England’s departure show on YouTube. “Your body completely shuts down when you have a break, because we’re made to just play all the time.

“When we have a rest, our body shuts down and it’s hard to get going again. But last week was really beneficial, to be honest with you, I think for everyone.

“We’ve got another full week now until the game, so we’ll be in a really good spot.”

Euro 2024 begins on Friday, when Germany play Scotland in Munich.

 

© Agence France-Presse

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Dylan Johnson