Date: 20th October 2018 at 12:16pm
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Danny Higginbotham claimed that teenager Declan Rice could make his reputation soar if he was able to stop Harry Kane when facing on Saturday.

The pundit regularly seen on Sky Sports Daily Show shared that the 19-year-old defender, who is currently being deployed as a midfielder, faced a huge task keeping the Spurs forward at bay for his side.

Higginbotham highlighted that if Rice succeeded in keeping Kane quiet then not only would he give the a great chance against their London rivals, his already fledgling reputation would benefit.

“Declan Rice faces one of the biggest tasks of his career today — trying to keep Harry Kane quiet,” wrote the Sky pundit in his column for The Sun.

“West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini swapped to a 4-1-4-1 after four straight losses — and Rice has since been a star at the base of midfield.

“The responsibility will be placed on Rice’s shoulders to keep Kane quiet, and if he can, the Hammers have a great chance.

“The communication and positioning between Rice and centre-backs Fabian Balbuena and Issa Diop is crucial.

“When Kane drops off, the last thing you want as a defender is to follow him, leaving space in behind for midfield runners to burst into.

“Rice will have to be on him in a flash, but he needs the centre-backs telling him when to pick Kane up.

“If he isn’t picked up, Kane is so comfortable in those spaces now he will run riot.

“So Rice has to be so disciplined for 90 minutes, making sure he isn’t dragged too far forward away from Balbuena and Diop.

“He is only 19 but has shown maturity well beyond his years so far.

“It’s no wonder England are so keen to get him involved. Snuff out Kane and his reputation will only soar further.”

OPINION

It seems Higginbotham has rightly been impressed by Rice so far this season and is giving him an opportunity to impress him further on Saturday. The 19-year-old has featured seven times for Manuel Pellegrini’s side this season and has helped them put points on . Rice has cruised to excellent performances, even when his teammates haven’t, and he is an asset to the club. However it will be amazing if he is able to completely stop Kane making a difference for his side in Saturday’s clash at the London Stadium. The Spurs forward shone during the international break for England and has been in tip-top for his club, since shrugging off suggestions he needed a rest. Kane has scored six goals in 10 games across all competitions for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season and you wouldn’t bet against him adding to that total on Saturday. Yet if he is to be stopped then it seems likely that it will be because of Rice’s influence, as him lurking in front of the Hammers’ defence does give the forward another hurdle to overcome.