Former Tottenham and England striker Darren Bent has been singing the praises of Declan Rice while comparing the West Ham United midfielder to Chelsea’s World Cup winner N’Golo Kante on talkSPORT, as reported by the Daily Mail.
“For me, Declan Rice would be an upgrade. Not only because he can play that role really, really well, he can get about the pitch. (He) has got good energy (and) reads the game really well,” Bent said.
Rice was linked with a move to Stamford Bridge throughout the summer. However, a deal couldn’t be agreed, meaning he remains at West Ham for now.
That hasn’t stopped fans and pundits alike speculating on how the 21-year-old could fit into the Chelsea set-up under the tutelage of another former England star, Frank Lampard.
Declan Rice has versatility on his side
Bent has weighed in with his opinion, arguing Rice’s versatility gives him the edge over Kante.
“He can drop into centre-half, that’s two positions he can play,” Bent told talkSPORT.
“N’Golo Kante has been a superb footballer and still is a great footballer. I just think for a season and a half now he’s not played in that role we know he is so good at.
“Maybe (Maurizio) Sarri was on to something because he felt he wasn’t quick enough in possession to play him there,” Bent added.
Kante’s remarkable success
Kante enjoyed remarkable success during his first two years in the Premier League. The diminutive midfielder won the title at both Leicester and Chelsea. He also played a pivotal role in France’s 2018 World Cup triumph.
His last two seasons have been less impressive, though. Having been moved away from his favoured holding midfield role, he struggled to show his adaptability. Injuries also hampered his development during Lampard’s first campaign in charge.
Playing in a midfield two alongside Jorginho in the opening weeks of this season, he has been unable to produce those eye-catching displays. This has led to rumours circulating he could be sold in January and replaced by Rice.
Declan Rice as captain
Now an established part of the England squad, Rice has also captained West Ham in each of their last three Premier League games. He led the side to successive wins over Wolves and Leicester before the international break.
With Rice’s stock clearly rising, it appears a move away from West Ham is inevitable. Whether that will be to Chelsea remains to be seen. The Rice versus Kante debate could rumble on as the next major transfer window fast approaches.
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