Rio Ferdinand has given his view on how Declan Rice has settled in to life at Arsenal.
Given the club-record spend that was invested in the player, there is plenty of pressure on Rice to shine at the Emirates Stadium. Much will have been made of the price tag had Rice not made such a bright start as an Arsenal player.
The 24-year-old was once again excellent as the Gunners secured a 1-0 win against Everton on Sunday. Rice was a dominant force in the middle of the pitch at Goodison Park. According to WhoScored’s statistics, the 45-cap England international completed 93.4% of his passes against the Toffees, and also made three interceptions and completed three dribbles.
With Thomas Partey currently sidelined with injury, it is vital that Rice can cope with bearing the bulk of the defensive burden in midfield, and so far Mikel Arteta will be delighted with how he has protected the Arsenal rearguard.
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Rio heaps praise on Rice
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has certainly been impressed by what he’s seen from Rice as an Arsenal player so far. Speaking on his YouTube channel, he said, “there was a lot said about Declan Rice by the way, and his transfer and the price of it at the beginning of the season. There’s very much less said about it right now which tells you that this guy’s performing at a very good level, operating at a very high level.”
“I think that’s testament to him, because when you go for a big fee, that’s all that’s mentioned when it’s not going well, or when you’re mediocre. But when you’re playing well, people don’t even mention it. So I’m gauging his performances just off of that alone.”
So far, Rice has justified every penny Arsenal spent to secure his services. The £240,000-a-week midfielder looks set to be a star for the Gunners for many years to come. If the north London club are to achieve their aims for this season, then it is vital that Rice is able to maintain his fitness and current performance level.
Arteta also has the luxury of depth in that part of this pitch. He has his own part to play in maintaining Rice’s energy levels by rotating in the likes of Partey, Jorginho, and Mohamed Elneny when possible.