Gabby Agbonlahor has now warned Declan Rice that Mikel Arteta will look to restrict the midfielder’s role at Arsenal. He also questions the summer signing’s likely impact.

The 24-year-old became Arsenal’s new record transfer in July as Rice quit West Ham United for an initial £100m. He bowed out of London Stadium as the Irons’ captain and having made 204 Premier League appearances. Slaven Bilic gave Rice his top-flight debut in May 2017.

Rice even led West Ham to their first major title since 1980 this June after beating Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final. While the 43-cap England anchor will even now make his Champions League debut. Arsenal will return to the UEFA competition in late September.

Declan Rice in action for Arsenal against Nottingham Forest
Photo by Mark Leech/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

Why Pele Is Overrated.

Declan Rice is already a central cog in Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal squad

Stan Kroenke, Arsenal’s owner, backed Arteta to make Rice the Gunners’ record signing after believing in the Spaniard’s plans. The Emirates Stadium boss marked Rice as a leading target for the summer sales from an early stage. He envisages the Chelsea reject having a vital role.

It did not take the former Blues youth prospect long to cement his place as a mainstay of the north Londoners’ side, either. Rice got his non-competitive debut against the MLS All-Stars before starting against Manchester United and AS Monaco during the club’s pre-season ties.

An injury in training ensured he missed their win against FC Barcelona in LA. But Rice started as Arsenal beat Manchester City in the Community Shield and their opening Premier League 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest. He is firmly now the central cog in Arteta’s midfield line-up.

Declan Rice celebrates with Kai Havertz and Jurrien Timber after Arsenal win Community Shield against Manchester City
Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Gabby Agbonlahor questions Declan Rice’s impact at the Emirates

Yet despite Rice cementing his presence at Arsenal, Agbonlahor questions what impact the midfielder will actually have under Arteta. He also expects the Spaniard to restrict the 6 ft 2 enforcer’s role to breaking up their opponent’s attacks, rather than contributing to Arsenal’s.

The former Aston Villa captain told talkSPORT: “Listen, Declan Rice is an outstanding player [and] he will help that Arsenal side a lot. But I think that Arsenal are going to be helped out by the goals of [Bukayo] Saka, [Gabriel] Martinelli, Gabriel Jesus and [Eddie] Nketiah.

Declan Rice celebrates Bukayo Saka scoring for Arsenal against Nottingham Forest
Photo by HENRY NICHOLLS/AFP via Getty Images

“I think Declan Rice is going to have a key role but more [in] breaking up the play, maybe not allowed to go forward as much in certain games. Especially as Thomas Partey has injury problems. A great signing.”

Rice grew into a greater box-to-box role for West Ham to convince Arsenal to break the bank for his transfer. He may have only scored 10 and assisted 10 goals in the Premier League so far in his career. But the ex-Republic of Ireland prospect can deliver surging runs from deep.

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