West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice has received huge praise from former Premier League striker Noel Whelan.
The Lowdown: Hot possession
Rice has been one of West Ham’s key players for the previous 18 months and speculation linking him with a move elsewhere increases after every full-time whistle, such is the brilliance of his displays.
With Rice cementing his name in the England starting XI on a regular basis now, his consistent performances have been noted by Whelan.
The Latest: One of the best
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan has heaped praise on the 22-year-old for his performances recently.
“Rice is a brilliant player. He is top class, there is no doubt about that.
“He stands out like a sore thumb in that position. I’d say he is one of the top two holding midfielders in the Premier League.
“He really is just getting better and better. On the ball, driving with the ball, passing, decision making and tackling are all areas he is continually improving in. He is also a great athlete.
“West Ham have made massive strides over the past 18 months and Declan Rice has been a big part of that.”
The Verdict: World-class Rice
Whelan’s comments are not far fetched at all. The England international has come on heaps and bounds since the first of his 151 appearances for the Hammers and the interest from clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool is warranted.
After ditching the Blues’ academy for the Hammers, being one of David Moyes’ key players must be a dream come true for Rice and Whelan’s delight at what he’s seen from the 22 year-old is more than justified – a 95.4 per cent pass success rate in the top flight this season is remarkable.
If Rice can remain consistent and continue to impress, it will prove difficult for the Hammers to keep hold of him if they cannot challenge again and again for European football, but the fee if he does leave could be more than enough to soften the blow.
In other news, this journalist has stated who he thought should have taken the injury-time penalty against Manchester United. Find out more here.
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