The former Manchester United player asked Hammers U-18s coach Jack Collison whether he thought the 20-year-old was a brilliant role model for the Hammers’ academy due to regularly featuring, before backing him to have a successful career.
Hargreaves claimed Rice was the best player on the pitch for West Ham against the Toffees and stated that Rice could be counted on every time he stepped on the pitch.
“You think that’s why Declan Rice is a brilliant role model as probably he is technically not the most gifted player of all time, probably more creative No.10s and wingers but Declan is going to have a brilliant career as even today he was the best player on the pitch for West Ham,” said Hargreaves on BT Sport’s Premier League tonight, as seen in a video uploaded to the broadcaster’s site.
“You can count on him every time he steps on the pitch, managers wants that, fans want that.”
While Rice is usually the Hammers player picking up the Man of the Match awards after games, Hargreaves was wrong to dub him the best player on the pitch for West Ham on Saturday. This is because Lukasz Fabianski deserves that praise instead. The Hammers shot-stopper was in fantastic form against Everton and without him, Manuel Pellegrini’s side would have suffered a much heavier defeat. Whether Hargreaves was just focusing on outfield players when making the claim is debatable, but if there is one Hammers player who should be spotlighted after the loss to Everton, it’s the experienced keeper. Fabianski has featured 32 times this season, conceding 48 goals and keeping five clean sheets. While those stats aren’t exactly mouthwatering, they more highlight how weak the Hammers’ defence is, rather than act as a reflection of the keeper’s displays. The 33-year-old has arguably proven himself to be the club’s best summer signing this season and it’ll be interesting to see if supporters end up naming him their Hammers Player of the Year.