Former West Ham defender Matthew Upson says he can see Declan Rice reverting to being a centre-back in the future.
Upson mentored Rice during his time at the academy but the 22-year-old has developed into a top class holding midfield player over the last couple of years.
While Upson says he has been very impressed by Rice’s progress in the middle of the park, he does believe the England international will return to being a centre-half later in his career:
“He has grown in terms of moving forwards and he’s shown is capable of being a bit more creative than what people thought, driving with the ball into those spaces and then offloading the pass, he tends to find the right pass as well.”
“At the moment, he’s obviously nailed the position because there are not many young players that are doing as well as him in terms of the maturity and the speed in which is established himself as a top Premier League player.”
“So he’s got to be in the right position now but it would not surprise me if he was a centre-back later in his career.”
It was reported some time ago that Chelsea were targeting Rice because of his ability to play both in midfield and in defence but, since then, he is taken his game to another level.
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola praised the midfielder after the Hammers’ 2-1 defeat at the Etihad on Sunday, labelling him as “exceptional,” while Rice is also high up on Manchester United’s list of summer targets.
Whoever makes a move to snap up Rice, though, will know they face a very tough battle to sign him with West Ham determined to keep their talisman at the club.