Declan Rice, despite harsh criticism from Roy Keane, claims he’s “buzzing” to help Arsenal win the Community Shield by defeating Manchester City on penalties.
After Cole Palmer had awarded City, Mikel Arteta’s team waited until the very end to force a penalty shootout. After a sustained spell of pressure from the Gunners, Leandro Trossard’s deflected shot reached the back of the net in the 101st minute to ensure the game would be decided by a shootout.
And it was Arsenal who maintained composure to triumph 4-1 on penalties and earn the season’s first title. Following the final whistle, Arteta cut a happy figure as he beat Pep Guardiola, who had won all three of their previous matches.
But prior to the game, attention was focused on the three newcomers at Arsenal from the summer transfer window: Rice, Kai Havertz, and Jurrien Timber. However, after Keane took a shot at the England international, saying the Gunners overpaid for him, it felt like Rice had a little more to prove.
“He is obviously going to be surrounded by better players, different demands,” Keane told ITV. “If he is going to play a little higher up the pitch, I can think he definitely has that quality in terms of getting at more goals to him, he’s obviously got that physical strength, he can get in the box.
“They have obviously paid way too much for him. He’s certainly not worth over £100 million! But a really good player. We will find out over the next year or two how good Declan is. He turns up every week, he is a big strong boy. We have talked about that physicality, they lacked that in the last month or two. Has he got that really top quality in terms of seeing a pass and getting nine or 10 goals? We’ll soon find out.”
Throughout the game, Rice performed admirably and demonstrated why the Gunners spent so much money on him. There were times when he could have been a little bit more effective in possession, but he repeatedly won the ball back and made sure that his tackles were made with determination — something Arsenal lacked last season.
Rice said in a post-game interview: “I am buzzing; this is what I imagined when I joined. City provided us with everything we had hoped for, yet I am humming with joy. In order to defeat them, you must have the patience and play mini-games within games, as our previous manager said.
“To win today, my first for the club. I feel I’ve grown a lot in the last three weeks. There’s a lot of information to take in of what the manager wants. I’m eager to learn and keep improving. I’m sure we can achieve anything this season – we just need to remain focused.”