West Ham United have seen plenty of their players leave to play in the World Cup, which will please David Moyes.
The opportunity to represent one’s country in what is the paramount competition in world football offers vital experience, however, for some, this is not their first experience in a major tournament.
For Declan Rice, their 23-year-old captain, it marks his second foray into international waters, after playing a starring role in England’s run to the EURO 2020 final last year.
With his consistently reliable displays in midfield, the 35-cap star has translated his domestic form into international success once again, and outdone his Brazilian teammate Lucas Paqueta, who starred in a similar role for his country on Thursday.
Having had little to do in their curtain-raiser against Iran, the match against the USA posed a wholly different challenge.
Despite recording an admittedly poor 0-0 draw, it was only Rice of outfield players outside the back four who came out of the game with any credit after a toothless attacking display.
He coped well with the physical demands placed upon him by the Americans, who were keen to show up their rivals across the pond.
Earning a 7.0 SofaScore rating, this denoted a solid display in which he did little wrong despite having 70 touches of the ball.
Unsurprisingly, his 92% pass accuracy was characteristically high, as his composure allowed the Three Lions to hold 56% possession.
The fact that he recorded five successful long passes out of seven attempted is also a glowing recommendation of his range and technical ability to execute.
Despite his youth, he proves with each passing game that he is the remarkable “leader” that Toby Cudworth claimed he is, as he seldom lets his side down.
Defensively was where he truly shone on Friday night, however, as he recorded two clearances, three interceptions, one tackle and blocked a shot too, living up to his billing as a “force of nature” – as per journalist Rob Blanchette.
Rice’s quality is almost common knowledge across England now, with the midfield general having shone for club and country for what seems like forever.
His display helped keep the USA quiet and now leaves his country in a fine position to qualify top of the group when they face a wounded Wales on Tuesday.