Football News

Rio Ferdinand: Declan Rice is the best midfielder in the country

By Ben Green

Published: 16:55, 9 November 2021

Rio Ferdinand has labelled Declan Rice the “best midfielder in the country” after the England international’s stellar start to the campaign with West Ham.

The 22-year-old has been ever-present after 11 games for the Hammers in the Premier League, as David Moyes’ men currently sit third in the table heading into the third international break of the season.

The club’s matchday captain, Rice has been the very heartbeat of West Ham’s midfield alongside partner in crime Tomas Soucek, with the duo working well in tandem to fire the Hammers up the table.

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Rice has also been a huge part of the club’s European campaign, with Moyes already masterminding qualification from Group H of the Europa League, while the east Londoners are through to the League Cup quarter-finals, having eliminated both Manchester clubs.

It has been a season of breathtaking football and huge results, but the biggest arguably came on Sunday as Moyes’ men put Liverpool to the sword with a 3-2 win at the London Stadium, their first triumph over the Merseyside club at their new ground.

Rice was once again pivotal in that triumph over Jurgen Klopps’ Reds, forming the backbone of Moyes’ XI, and following the contest in E20, former West Ham defender Ferdinand was quick to lavish praise on the central midfielder.

He told his Vibe with Five podcast: “He has arguably been the best midfielder in the country.

“He has dominated games, he has played with maturity. The Euros, something’s clicked in him different.

“His game management, the way he can change the pace of a game at times, we saw that at Newcastle earlier in the season. He’s added goals now. There’s a maturity in his game for one so young that he’s got levels still to go.”

Despite previously suggesting Manchester United should try to buy Rice off the Hammers, Ferdinand believes the academy product has no reason to leave the club at the minute.

He added: “Why’s he going to want to leave West Ham right now? They’re third in the league. For anyone to prise him out of West Ham they’re going to have to pay big money.

“That’s the problem anyone is going to have now because they probably could have got him for I don’t know if they really pushed the boat out and went £50 or 60 million in the summer.

“Moyes said at the weekend – £100 million and you’re still probably going to get a no. I don’t know if that was tongue-in-cheek but that’s what he said.”

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