Friday, September 29, 2023

‘Outstanding’ Declan Rice could make Gary Neville eat his words after incredible Arsenal display

Declan Rice delivered the perfect response to criticism from Gary Neville as he starred in his second Premier League game for Arsenal.

Rice was man of the match as the Gunners beat Crystal Palace 1-0 at Selhurst Park.

Rice is already becoming a leader at ArsenalGetty

There is huge pressure on the 24-year-old following his £105million transfer from West Ham this summer.

Critics have often said that Rice needs to add more goals and assists to his game to become a more complete midfielder.

That is something that Manchester United legend Neville pointed out before Arsenal faced Palace.

He told Sky Sports: “For £100m I think you want goals and assists at the top end of the pitch sorting out, but the last six months has completely changed the perception of midfielder players’ values.

“You mention Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira, personally they are the two best midfield players that we have seen in British football and I don’t think Declan Rice is in that category.”

Rice may not have got a goal or an assist, but his performance was the ideal response to those questions raised by Neville.

He nearly grabbed an assist when he played Eddie Nketiah through on goal and his heat map shows it was a brilliant box-to-box midfield display.

Liverpool hero Jamie Carragher commented on his outstanding performance and said he was the best player on the pitch.

Rice played a perfect box-to-box midfield role for Arsenal

Carragher said: “I actually like him in the role he played tonight more than popping up between the lines. His initial position was to start in that deeper position and drive forward from it. I think that is where he is at his best.

“He has talked about learning from the manager, playing further forward, maybe playing in pockets. I don’t think it fully suits him but I really liked what I saw tonight.

“It felt like everything went through him. He was in the centre of the pitch, he was getting the ball, he was switching play – a couple of great 50 to 60 yard passes. But also when he made that run, he slipped a little pass to Nketiah. He was the best player on the pitch. I thought he was outstanding.”

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