Football News

Lee Dixon highlights ‘outstanding’ Arsenal star who is still improving

By J Smith

Lee Dixon highlights 'outstanding' Arsenal star who is still improving

Published: 20:55, 15 March 2024

Arsenal legend Lee Dixon has heaped praise on the ‘outstanding’ Declan Rice and even believes the midfielder is still improving. 

Rice helped West Ham win the Europa Conference League last season before completing a move to Arsenal worth in excess of £100m over the summer.

One of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s England teamsheet, Rice has slotted seamlessly into the Gunners’ midfield, dictating play from deep, providing a surprise attacking threat with three goals and four assists in his last eight league appearances, and also offering a vital defensive screen for those behind him.

Arguably playing the best football of his career right now, Rice has established himself as one of the leading midfielders in the game right now, but Dixon believes the 25-year-old still hasn’t reached the peak of his powers.

“He’s having an absolutely outstanding season,” Dixon told Flashscore. “Every game I watch him play, he seems to get better and understand his position a little bit better.

“When he first got into the England side, he always seemed to miss players running off the back of him.

“The fact that he’s now understanding where he should be, the amount of interceptions and last-minute tackles on players going into that ’10 area’ is absolutely outstanding.”

Much-improved under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal are still competing for two major trophies, sitting top of the Premier League while also drawing German powerhouses Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals. It’s a critical few weeks for that silverware quest, with the Gunners facing title rivals Manchester City following the international break, while their double-header against Bayern follows shortly after in mid-April.

Rice’s form will be vital to Arsenal’s hopes, with the England midfielder sitting first among his teammates in league and Champions League play combined when it comes to tackles (68), interceptions (48) and long passes completed (92).