Gary Neville has backed Declan Rice to push Arsenal on to winning the Premier League title this season.

Arsenal ran eventual champions Manchester City relatively close in the Premier League title race last season, having led for the majority of the campaign.

However, the Gunners squad ultimately didn’t have the depth required to beat Pep Guardiola’s side over the course of a marathon season. Due to this, Mikel Arteta spent heavily to strengthen his squad this summer. 

Kai Havertz, Jurrien Timber, and David Raya were all brought to the Emirates Stadium to help take Arsenal to the next level. However, the club-record £105 million spent to prise Declan Rice away from West Ham United represented the real statement signing.

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The 24-year-old is already living up to his price tag in north London. He topped off a man of the match display against Manchester United on Sunday by scoring the winning goal in the 96th minute. 

Manchester United v Arsenal
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Neville hails Rice impact at Arsenal

After the game, former Manchester United defender and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville gave his verdict on the impact that Rice is capable of having at Arsenal.

He said, “that second goal…by Declan Rice, was a big, big moment. That’s what he’s been bought for.”

Whilst Rice hasn’t necessarily been brought to Arsenal by Arteta for his goal-scoring prowess, he certainly was acquired to deliver in the big moments of big matches, and he did that on Sunday. 

Neville went on to say that he thinks Rice makes Arsenal’s squad closer to being genuine title contenders, as he is the kind of player who drags a team forward. 

In this regard, Neville compared Rice to iconic ex-Manchester United captain, and his own former teammate, Roy Keane. He said, “I tipped Arsenal to win the title this season, which is a long shot…everyone would point to Manchester City, but I think it’s in these moments that you find out…big players…Roy Keane, who would drive his team towards a victory…I think Declan Rice plays every minute of a football match [thinking] that a draw is a bad result. That’s a really important factor.”

Rice might not have Keane’s temperament, but he shares his tenacity and never-say-die attitude. He will quickly become an even more influential figure on the pitch for Arsenal, leading by example, and rising to the toughest tests. 

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