The 20-year-old has been an ever-present for the Hammers so far this term, and the pundit has been suitably impressed with his contribution, despite the poor form of his side as a whole.
Speaking on Soccer Saturday (Sky Sports News, December 7th, 14.00), he said: “Declan Rice, he’s a young kid, he’s going to have ups and downs, but he’s probably been their outstanding player so far this season, alongside [Mark] Noble.”
Rice has been one of the few bright sparks in West Ham’s otherwise dire season, and he has shown that he has the potential to go to the very, very top of the professional game. Even though the Hammers have been wholly disappointing for much of the campaign, he has averaged 2.9 tackles, 2.3 interceptions, and a pass completion 89.9% per match, as per Whoscored. Those are the numbers of a complete defensive midfielder, and it’s easy to forget that he is still only 20. As Morrison points out, he does still have the odd blip here and there, but if he can iron out those kinks and keep progressing at the rate that he is at the moment, then there is no reason why he can’t become one of the best holding midfielders in Europe. That may seem like a big statement, but Rice is a special talent.