“I think he might be slightly better…”
Declan Rice has continued to push on with his form this season, to the point that Stuart Pearce is giving him some seriously high praise.
Speaking after his excellent performance away against Aston Villa on Sunday evening, which was capped off with a fine goal from outside the box, Pearce said that Rice is expected to be the best player on the pitch in every game he plays.
Rice, Rice baby! ?❄
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) October 31, 2021
Stuart Pearce on Declan Rice
The West Ham coach told talkSPORT that Rice can go as “far as he wants”, with regards to his career.
“Every game he takes the field in, the expectation is he should be the best player. He’s got the tools to do that, he’s got the stature to do it, he’s got everything. He’s an absolute pleasure to work with, he drives the midfield.
“I was sat next to Billy McKinlay (West Ham coach) at the weekend and he asked if he was as good as Roy Keane at the same age. I said ‘do you know what? I think he might be slightly better.’
“We had Roy with us at Forest before he moved onto Manchester United and I’d have to say he’s slightly better than Roy.
“Whether he’ll have the career that Roy had… it’s all there for him though. He’s got to stay fit, keep learning, keep progressing.
Roy Keane on Declan Rice
While it does seem like a bold claim from Pearce, it is actually something Keane himself agrees with.
Speaking earlier this season, Keane said: “I know he’s been linked with Man United and if you’d have asked me a year or two ago, I would have thought give him another year or two in terms of maturing.
“I look to where I was when I was 22. I think he’s way ahead of me when I was 22.
“I think the next step will come when he’s playing at a higher level, Champions League, competing for trophies.”