Former Hammer Teddy Sheringham has compared Declan Rice to some of the Premier League’s greatest midfielders as our captain leads West Ham head into the New Year still challenging in the Premier League and Europe.
We can all agree that Declan is our star man. He is a defensive-minded player who does his best work winning the ball and protecting his defence.
And his performances this year have caught the eye of Sheringham who has praised Rice on his performances during the Euros and for West Ham.
‘He’s an outstanding player,’ Sheringham said in an interview for Blowing Bubbles. ‘He’s continued to grow in stature and importance to West Ham, and probably even more so for England when he’s playing with even better players.
‘I thought he had an outstanding Euro 2020, and I was very surprised to see him get taken off in the final. I thought he was our one player that was retaining possession in every manner that he did.’
Like Teddy, I too believe we are lucky enough to still have Rice after his fantastic time at the Euros with him being compared to a lot of world class players such as N’Golo Kanté.
They both cover a lot of ground and make both interceptions and tackles in big numbers, but Sheringham also sees other promising elements in Rice’s game.
‘He gets about the pitch like Steven Gerrard, perhaps not that 100% committed in the way that Stevie did flying into tackles, but just the way he runs past players in midfield as well,’ Teddy continued.
‘I think there’s a bit of everything. He’s got an understanding of knowing when to play the ball first time like a Michael Carrick, knowing when to control the game like a Roy Keane, but also knowing when to carrying a ball and knowing that he can outrun players in midfield and using that power that he has to keep the ball and get past players and retain possession in the way he does as well. I think he’s a phenomenal player.’
We all hope Declan stays with the club for a long time, even perhaps becoming the next Mark Noble, however we all know that would just be a dream to us all.
And us West Ham fans know that all eyes from around the world will be on who makes the first move for Rice come summer 2022.
We all are dreading that moment but where can Teddy see Rice in the future?
‘When you’re talking about footballers, you want to play for the biggest clubs in the world.
‘I think he is becoming that player that if he was available, he would obviously be big money, he could go and play for anyone of the top biggest clubs in the world.
‘Who is that going to be? I don’t know. Real Madrid, Barcelona – though they are struggling at the moment, though I’m sure they’ll be back or Man United, Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Juventus – I am sure they’ll all want him.
‘He’s a sensational player, and probably in the top two or three central midfield players in the world at the moment. That’s how highly I rate him.’
Even though Declan Rice is our star man for West Ham we have recently gained a new all-time leading goal scorer in the Premier League era.
Michail Antonio moved past club legend Paolo Di Canio’s previous record mark of 47 earlier this campaign and has now scored 53 goals for the club in the league.
Antonio also made his debut for Jamaica back in September after his great start to the season for the Hammers.
And Teddy believes there may be some regret from FA bigwigs for not capping him sooner.
‘Yeah, of course. I mean, you want all the players that you can playing for your country. Whether he would have been given the chance with England, I don’t know, but he’s performing at the top end of the Premier League at the moment, so you would have to look at him.’
Antonio loves to break records. He was the first player to score against Tottenham Hotspur at their new ground. Every West Ham fan loves him for his goals against Spurs.
The strength and power Antonio has is unbelievable and definitely someone we love to watch when he is in form.
It’s crazy to think that during his journey at West Ham he had a spell at right back and now has transformed into a striker.
But as a former striker himself, does Teddy think Antonio fits in the striker boots?
‘I think he suits the way West Ham play, in as much as they’re an underdog type of team, and you don’t expect them.
‘Maybe he would find it a little bit more difficult if he was playing for Liverpool or Manchester City, and you play against teams that are very defensive against you.
‘You have to break teams down in a different way. You get teams going to the London Stadium now, and they still hope to beat West Ham, so they press on.
‘Whereas the more West Ham stay up there and are a winning team, teams will come to defend and make it difficult for you to break them down.
‘So that will be a different question mark on whether Michail Antonio can play in that manner as well. But he’s good at beating teams on the break.’