Jamie Carragher was full of praise for Declan Rice after the midfielder led West Ham United to Premier League victory over Leeds United last night, speaking on Sky Sports.
Goals from Jesse Lingard and Craig Dawson ensured the Hammers made another massive step towards securing European football next term.
Both West Ham goalscorers have gained good credit in recent weeks. Particularly Lingard, whose loan move from Manchester United has been a revelation.
However, it was Rice who earned recognition from Carragher following his mature performance at the heart of West Ham’s midfield.
Carragher: Rice a ‘fantastic player’
The former Liverpool defender lauded the 22-year-old before the game and sustained his appraisal post-match.
Carragher said: “(Rice) is another one who burst on to the scene. He got a little bit of criticism at times, I thought unjustly. He’s a regular for England at that age.
“We’ve highlighted he’s played every minute this season. We also highlighted what his manager said about him before the game.
“He is a fantastic player. I’m a huge fan of his.”
More than just a defensive midfielder
Carragher believes Rice is much more than just a holding midfielder, the position in which he made his name for club and country
“He’s not thinking of himself as a sitting midfield player,” Carragher said.
“He almost got pigeon-holed with ‘that’s where he was going to play’ and he was ‘always going to end up at centre-back’.
“I’m not sure about that. I think he’s a really good midfield player. His passing is good. I like that. He drives forward.
“He rarely gets beaten one-on-one, he’s got physical strength. He’s a fantastic player.”
Rice so nice
Rice’s rise to become one of England’s best young talents has been phenomenal.
His importance to West Ham also can’t be underestimated.
He has yet to miss a league game since the start of 2019/20 and is a reliable presence in David Moyes’ squad.
More than that, he’s heir to Mark Noble as West Ham captain.
Everything is moving in the right direction for Rice, who could be in for a busy summer followed by a European campaign of a different sort.
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