Agbonlahor hits out as Declan Rice faces ban after explosive West Ham footage emerges
Declan Rice should not be punished for his explosive outburst at the referee after West Ham crashed out of the Europa League with a 1-0 defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt last week (5 May), according to Gabby Agbonlahor.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Aston Villa and England attacker claimed it was common for players to lose their composure in the tunnel and an apology is all that is needed.
Rice, 23, accused the referee of being corrupt immediately after the game that saw the Hammers beaten 3-1 on aggregate.
They were reduced to 10 men after less than 20 minutes at Deutsche Bank Park after Aaron Cresswell was shown a red card for fouling Jens Petter Hauge just outside the penalty area.
The Daily Mail reported last week (6 May) Rice may face a three-game ban and a possible fine for his actions in the tunnel.
Asked whether the England midfielder deserves to be punished, Agbonlahor told Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley: “I don’t think so no.
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“It’s only because of camera phones that this stuff comes out. If there was nobody videoing it, it wouldn’t come out.
“That probably happens a lot. A player loses their composure after a semi-final defeat in a major competition.
“I’m sure Declan Rice will apologise if needed. He probably just lost his head after being knocked out in a semi-final, it happens in football.
“Uefa will just move on and not punish him.
“Referees always get hammered in the tunnel by players and managers. They lose their composure after a defeat, it’s nothing new.”