Declan Rice defends Reece James on his red card

Declan Rice has rushed to Reece James’ defence after the Chelsea star was sent off on his England bow.

The right-back became the first Three Lions player to be given a red card on their starting debut.

It came about after the 20-year-old got up in referee Jesus Gil Marzano’s face and gave him an earful, with the Spaniard subsequently sending him off for dissent.

But Rice insists that should not detract from a brilliant performance.

James was arguably England’s best player on the pitch, delivering some lethal crosses, astute defending as well as some brilliant touches.

Reece james

Ultimately, it was all for nothing as Gareth Southgate’s men crashed to a 1-0 defeat.

Denmark star Christian Eriksen was the difference, converting a penalty in the first-half to give the visitors three points.

It leaves England third in their Nations League group after Belgium beat Iceland in the other match of the night.

And the home side can be accused of poor discipline after Harry Maguire was given his marching orders after just 30 minutes following two yellow cards.

With James also being sent off, it means he will be suspended for England’s next match.

But when available, the Chelsea star will surely be back in the team after a fine performance – with West Ham’s Rice stunned by the levels he showed.

“Reece James looked like he’d been out here for 30-40 caps tonight,” Rice said to BBC’s 5Live post-match.

“I’ve been with him since the Under-8s and I know he’s capable of that.

“He’s a fantastic young player and gives us another option going forward and I don’t think that sending off should affect how positively we look at his performance.

“Until [Maguire’s] sending off happened I thought we were playing really well and using the ball really well.

Reece James and Mason Mount were creating some great chances for us but we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”

James took to Instagram to apologise for his red card, where he received supportive messages from Rice and Chelsea team-mate Tammy Abraham.

The striker said: “Did your thing bro.”

While Rice replied: “Be proud of the way you played bro.”

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