West Ham news: Roshane Thomas lauds "baller" Declan Rice

West Ham's Declan Rice

West Ham star Declan Rice has not forged his reputation in the game through his ability to strike a dead ball. 

Despite spending much of his youth career in central defence, Rice has enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence in the holding midfield role at West Ham. 

Such has been the quality and consistency of his form, the 21-year-old is the Hammers' most valuable player and looks nailed on to start Euro 2021 as Gareth Southgate's first-choice holding midfielder.

Not only is Rice a combative force with a near-telepathic ability to read the game, he's also an excellent distributor of the ball. In short, he boasts a complete skillset for the modern day midfield anchor. 

During the Irons' narrow 1-0 win over Burnley on Saturday Rice did something rather unexpected. 

He's certainly not renowned for his free-kick taking ability, but he flaunted another weapon in his armoury in far from auspicious circumstances. 

David Moyes' side were awarded a free-kick narrowly outside of the penalty area during the second half, but the angle was tight enough to deter most from taking an effort at goal. However, despite the odds being stacked against him, Rice stepped up and struck an effort just over the crossbar. 

While Rice didn't profit from the incident it still caught the eye of respected journalist Roshane Thomas, who is West Ham's correspondent for The Athletic.

Writing in his post-match Q&A column, Thomas lauded Rice's desire to continuously improve the weaker aspects of his game in a glowing assessment of the 10-cap international. 

"I love the fact he's so keen to work on the weak parts of his game. He came close to scoring from a free-kick in the second half. Such a baller."

GIVEMESPORT's Jack Saville says...

Rice's stock is bound to rise to new heights if he can add free-kick taking to his substantial list of qualities. 

The manner in which Rice sprays the ball around London Stadium attests to his first-class technical quality, so perhaps we shouldn't be surprised by his confidence and ability from dead ball situations. 

Aside from the speculative free-kick attempt, the former Chelsea trainee was in domineering form, completing four key passes, two tackles, two interceptions and winning five aerial duels in a complete display, per Whoscored

It's no wonder that his former club have been so heavily linked with a move to re-sign Rice this month. 

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