'Really special': Declan Rice says he really wants to play against £65m midfielder Liverpool hope to sign
Photo by NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP via Getty Images

'Really special': Declan Rice says he really wants to play against £65m midfielder Liverpool hope to sign

Declan Rice was asked about Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong ahead of England’s last 16 clash at the World Cup.

As the tournament goes along, the standard of the midfield players England face will go along and at the pre-match press conference before Sunday’s Senegal clash, Rice took a question about de Jong.

Rice faced de Jong as a teenager in the 2019 Nations League semi-finals, when England took the lead before losing 3-1 after extra-time.

He lavished praise on the Dutchman, who is reportedly a target for Liverpool and could even move during the January transfer window.

Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Rice on de Jong

He said:  “When you play against the top nations, they’re always going to have top midfield players.

“They’re going to have players who control games. My time against de Jong, I was really young then, I think I was only 19.

“I said at the time he was a really special player and he’s gone on to flourish throughout his career.

“If I want to be one of the best, I need to test myself against those players.”

£65 million man de Jong was the subject of a long transfer saga involving Manchester United during the summer transfer window.

But ESPN have reported on the prospect of a January exit, with Liverpool having made contact over signing the Dutchman.

Barcelona’s financial issues are well-known but they did not sell de Jong to raise funds in the summer, and it remains to be seen what happens next month.

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