Declan Rice opens up on Arsenal move
Jamie Carragher risks upsetting his Sky Sports colleague Roy Keane by comparing him to Declan Rice. The former Manchester United star has been highly critical of Rice in the past and won’t be enthralled by the fact that the Englishman is being mentioned in the same breath as him.
Keane insisted that Arsenal had grossly overspent on Rice over the summer but the Gunners midfielder has lived up to his £105million price tag so far. The ex-West Ham skipper has worked tirelessly for the badge since stepping through the door in July and has quickly become one of the most important players in Mikel Arteta’s system.
He is the glue that holds Arsenal’s midfield together and contributes at both ends of the pitch. When he is absent the Gunners don’t look like the same team. He has become for Arsenal what Rodri is to Manchester City – and Carragher is a keen admirer of him.
“Declan Rice, at £105 million, is a bargain for Arsenal. There are certain players who move for astronomical fees and are almost guaranteed to be successful,” wrote Carragher in his Daily Telegraph column.
“I feel the same way about Rice that I felt about Roy Keane when he joined Manchester United for a British record fee in 1993, and Alan Shearer when he joined Newcastle United in 1996. Harry Kane is another; he was a guarantee for Bayern Munich this summer.
“From the moment he joined Arsenal, you knew that Rice would be brilliant. He has been probably the most influential player in the Premier League this season and, every time I watch him, he reminds me of Keane. He has that same presence, and he has a passing ability that is incredibly underrated.
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“When you think of the great midfielders of the past, they all had an aura on the pitch. Keane had it, and so did players like Graeme Souness and Bryan Robson. I see those same qualities in Rice, who could be the difference for Arsenal this season as they challenge for the title.”
Last season, Keane insisted that Rice would have to do a lot more to match the top midfielders in the world, insisting that he didn’t contribute enough to West Ham – much to the surprise of Ian Wright.
“He’s got to focus on doing well for West Ham this season,” Keane said. “I don’t think he’s been that great this season. He’s not really kicked on for all the talk about him and all the PR coming out of West Ham about him… I think he needs to do a lot more. He doesn’t score enough goals and he doesn’t get enough assists.”
To which a bewildered Wright replied: “Wow.” Keane then fired back: “You disagree? That’s good. I hope you disagree with me, because I think I know what I’m talking about – I played in midfield.”
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