Michail Antonio has raved about the quality of West Ham teammate Declan Rice and considers him to be one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League.
The 20-year-old has come through the academy ranks with the Hammers and gone on to become a key player in the first-team.
He’s played every single minute of the opening seven Premier League games so far this season and has a great partnership alongside Mark Noble in the centre of the park.
Rice is a defensive-minded midfielder that helps screen the back four and sniff out danger in front of them.
He’s also a composed player in possession and now has five senior international caps for England.
West Ham winger Antonio gets to watch Rice up close every day in training and has given his teammate tremendous praise.
“He (Rice) is up there with one of the best holding defensive midfield players in the league. After Fernandinho and N’Golo Kante I’d probably put him third,” Antonio told BBC Radio 5 Live Sport.
“He cleans up everything. It’s just his stature, long legs tall guy. It’s just so hard to get round him. He keeps the team, he’s technically quality and he’s young.”
Rice has taken his game forward hugely since the arrival of Manuel Pellegrini as manager at the beginning of last season and has clearly earned his trust to become a regular in the team.
He’s looking every bit an England international as games go by and aged 20 his best years will be ahead of him.
West Ham are hopeful that they can break into the European spots during this campaign and the performances of Rice in the midfield will be key to their chances.