Declan Rice: I'm so proud of this England squad

Declan Rice has spoken of his pride at England's run to the UEFA Euro 2020 final and says they will return stronger from their heartbreaking penalty shootout defeat to Italy.

The West Ham United midfielder shone in the heart of the Three Lions' team throughout the tournament, starting all seven games as they saw off Germany, Ukraine and Denmark in the knockout phase, conceding just two goals over the 690 minutes of tournament football.

And while their efforts in Sunday's final against Italy just came up short, the Azzurri triumphing 3-2 from the spot after a hard-fought 1-1 draw, Rice will reflect on his first major tournament experience with positive memories - once Sunday's hurt subsides.

"It’s difficult to put into words how I’m feeling," he wrote in an emotional Instagram post. "I’m of course absolutely devastated with the result last night and need some time now to process the massive disappointment we are all feeling. To get so close is heartbreaking, and I know all of us around the country are hurting.

"However, the biggest emotion I am feeling is pride. I am so proud to be a part of this squad. The last five weeks I’ve had the best time of my entire life and the journey we have all been on together as players, management, staff, fans and as a nation has been special.

:It’s been a true honour to represent our country at a major tournament and together we’ve all created memories that will last a lifetime.

:We win together and lose together, and although it’s painful today this is just the start for this squad and we will be back better, stronger and ready to go again."



A post shared by Deccers (@declanrice)


Of the 14 England players who started more than one match at Euro 2020, Rice ranked first in tackles won (14) and interceptions (12), second in pass completion percentage (90.4%), third in clearances (eight) and fourth in passes made (320) and dribbles (ten).

The 22-year-old had an outstanding tournament, and he also took the time to thank the support the team received from all corners of the nation.

"Thank you so much to everyone around the country for the incredible support for all of us during the whole tournament,: he added, "Seeing everyone come together as we have over the last month has been amazing and I know there are great days ahead. 

"We are all hungry for success and the future is bright for this group!!!"