Journalist Paul Brown thinks West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has started to dominate games this season.
Rice is still only 22, but seems to be maturing by the week as the Irons continue to impress in the Premier League.
How has Rice fared at West Ham this season?
After West Ham finished sixth last season, many observers were keen to see whether they could back that up again this term.
Thus far, they have done exactly that, and Rice has played a crucial part in their success.
With the side back in Europe, they have already booked their place in the last 32 of the Europa League with two group matches to spare, and Rice has scored twice against Dinamo Zagreb and Rapid Vienna.
He has also shone in England’s top division, scoring once and providing three assists in his opening 10 league appearances to put the Irons firmly in the hunt for a top four spot.
What has Brown said about Rice?
Brown has admired Rice’s skillset for some time, but he thinks the England international has taken his game to a new level this season.
He has claimed that Rice is now doing more from an attacking perspective, and is starting to make a big impact against the best teams in the country.
Speaking about Rice, Brown told GIVEMESPORT: “For the first time, he’s bossing games, even against bigger clubs. He’s been a great player for a long time, don’t get me wrong, but I think even before this season there were times when he was a little bit still in his shell, and a little bit wary of trying to do too much in a game.
“And he would just sit and be that holder, and not activate himself further forward.”
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Will Rice be able to boss the game against Liverpool?
This weekend’s clash with Liverpool could be Rice’s biggest test of the campaign to date. The Reds have been scoring for fun in 2021/22, netting 29 times in their opening 10 league fixtures.
Rice, who is valued at £63m by Transfermarkt, will have a big role to play to protect David Moyes’ back four. Meanwhile, he could also be trusted with progressing the ball up the pitch, and ensuring that West Ham are not just sitting back and soaking up pressure.
If he can deliver a complete performance against the likes of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, it will be a further indication that he is developing into one of the most well-rounded midfielders in the Premier League.
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