Jamie Carragher has discussed the qualities of Declan Rice and believes the West Ham midfielder would be ‘perfect in a back three’.
Rice has established himself as one of the most highly-rated young players in the Premier League at West Ham, breaking into the senior England side and winning seven international caps.
Manchester United and Chelsea have both been linked with a big-money move for the 21-year-old this summer, though Carragher – who admits he is a big fan of the youngster – believes Rice’s long term position may be in defence rather than his current midfield role.
“To be honest, he reminds me a little bit of myself. I started in midfield and became a centre back. I’m a big fan of him,” Carragher said on Sky Sports’ Football Show.
“He’s had a lot of people praising him, but he’s also had a bit of criticism. That happens to a lot of young players, you burst onto the scene and then you have a spell where you receive a lot of criticism.
“I think it’s been really tough to play in the West Ham team these last few years. I think he’s better on the ball than he’s given credit for.
“There’s a slight criticism in terms of how he receives the ball, there’s an art to that. If you go to the ball and you’re not in a great position, players won’t give you the ball. But he can pass and I think he’s got something about him.
“At centre back, everything will be in front of him. I think that’s why I was never going to be a great midfield player. In terms of stepping out with the ball, I think he’d be perfect in a back three.
“Of course, he has to improve in certain areas but every young player has to improve.”
Rice, of course, started his career as a central defender before being thrust into a defensive midfield role by Manuel Pellegrini.