West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini has lavished praise on teenage sensation Declan Rice, saying that he can be a top player for the club.
The 19-year-old has been in excellent form to start the season, and has clearly impressed his Chilean manager in recent weeks.
“He can be a top player maybe some time in the future,” Pellegrini said, as quoted by Football.London. “He is learning a lot, always asking, he is very young but he has a huge future.”
The Hammers boss also claims it is important not to demand too much of the youngster, especially in terms of his new contract.
“I am always talking with all players, Declan also,” he added. “He is a young player, we need to give him time to make a difficult decision, it is not easy. Both sides are close for him so we must not pressure him about his contract or for what country he will play for.”
Pellegrini is correct in his assessment of Rice’s talent. The teenager has emerged this season as a fully formed midfield enforcer, and you’ve seen in recent games that his presence in the Hammers midfield has had a positive effect on his team mates Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang. Those two can maraud forward to their heart’s content, safe in the knowledge that the 19-year-old is covering the defence behind them. It’s important not to expect too much too soon from Rice, but it’s hard when he’s looked so impressive so far this season. It’s good that he’s asking the manager questions and seeking out ways in which he can improve, it shows a terrific attitude for a young man. Pellegrini is right that the club shouldn’t pressure him to sign a new contract or sort out his international future, those things will come in time and right now the youngster needs to concentrate on his football.