Dean Saunders has compared West Ham captain Declan Rice to two Premier League greats, Roy Keane and Paul Ince.
Rice has cemented himself as one of the best youngsters in English football over the past few years.
The 22-year-old is shining for the Hammers every single week and is an important part of Gareth Southgate’s England plans.
Saunders has been impressed with the Londoner but has outlined how he believes Rice can take it to the next level, he said on TalkSport:
“Would I like to play in midfield against Declan Rice? No,” Saunders said
“If it’s a scrap he’s up there for a scrap, I mean a second ball match, a scrappy match which is about getting to the ball first and winning the ball in the centre circle, he’ll be good at that.
“If it’s a box to box game where we’re going to run for 90 minutes catching the strikers up, catching the back four up, he looks fitter than me as well, it looks like he can do that.”
He added: “I might be able to control the game with the ball and play around him, I might be able to do that to him, but I think he’s getting better at that.
He added: “I think there’s a point where you have to say to Declan Rice, go and play like Roy Keane or Paul Ince, they just covered every blade of grass,”
Despite bossing the midfield from such a young age for West Ham, Rice is still only 22. He has only just embarked on his career and has a very long way to go.
Of course he can improve in certain areas – which players can’t? – but he has to remember his role for the team as well as what has brought him to this stage in his career.
The England international hasn’t made it this far by covering every blade of grass, running around like a headless chicken. He has a specific role and carries it out in its simplest form, that is the brilliance of Rice.
That’s not to say Rice won’t go on to improve his attacking play or develop several other areas of his game because he already has since bursting onto the scene.
It is much more important for the West Ham captain to be taking things one step at a time whilst remembering his strengths and weaknesses as he looks to build himself into an even better player.
The path is built for Rice, he must follow it and not let any outside noise dictate his style of play or career.
In other West Ham news, Confirmed West Ham United starting XI v Watford.
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