Burnley midfielder Josh Cullen says it’s ‘scary’ how good Arsenal target Declan Rice is and that the West Ham star is yet to reach his full potential.
The 24-year-old has been exceptional for West Ham over the past few seasons and has also become a mainstay for England under Gareth Southgate.
And Josh Cullen believes the best is yet to come from Rice and waxed lyrical about his performances for the Hammers.
Cullen raves about Rice amid Arsenal interest
Speaking to The Athletic, Cullen reflected on playing alongside Rice during their time in the West Ham academy set-up.
“I remember playing alongside Dec in his first under-23 game,” the Burnely man said. “This game always stands out to me because we played Brighton & Hove Albion at The Amex.
“Dec played as a centre-back and he was confident. He was probably 16 or 17, and he was brilliant.
“He showed his leadership; it was a new environment for him, yet he wasn’t afraid to voice his opinion or coach players in front of him.
“It was a strange one with Dec because at the time he wasn’t the standout player. But you could see the quality he had. It was just a case of his body developing.
“I remember dropping him home at digs once. His age group had been offered scholarships and a few boys were offered professional deals.
“But Dec had only been offered a scholarship and he was a bit frustrated and down, which is natural. I told him not to worry about it because he had years to work hard and get what he deserves.
“Look at him now. I’m delighted to see how well he’s doing. The scary thing about Rice is he’s this good and he’s nowhere near his prime.”
Cullen added that he isn’t surprised to see Rice impressing in the Premier League with West Ham and described the midfielder as a leader.
Arsenal certainly need to add some extra depth to their midfield over the summer after they struggled to maintain their form at the back end of the season.
Thomas Partey has been brilliant under Arteta, but the Ghanaian could do with some added competition.
Rice would certainly be the perfect man for the job as he is capable of competing with Partey for a place in Arteta’s side, or even being used in a slightly more advanced role.