West Ham United striker Michail Antonio has heaped praise on new Arsenal star Declan Rice, but has also hinted that his side will cope with his departure.

Rice was West Ham’s captain prior to his club-record move across London, and he was arguably his team’s most important player.

The England international led the Hammers to unexpected glory in the Europa Conference League in his final game for the club, and Antonio has reiterated just how good he is.

Speaking on the Footballer’s Football Podcast, Antonio claimed that Rice is one of the best midfielders in the entire league, but was defiant in his assessment of how West Ham will cope without him.

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“I think we’ll be fine, it’s football at end of the day, like obviously he’s a quality player. He was an unbelievable player, probably one of the best defensive midfielders in the league like I’ve always said,” he stated.

“Football isn’t about one player, it’s about 11, and the team banded together and working hard. So it’s one of the things where, obviously, he’s gone now and all we can do is move on and make sure we can fill that space with some quality players, and someone else who’s got to step up and take his place. And I believe that we’ve got players here that can do that.”

Rice will become a superstar

There is a lot of excitement about Rice’s potential to succeed at Arsenal. Having already established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the league under David Moyes, playing under Mikel Arteta can help unlock a not-yet-seen aspect of his game.

Manchester City v Arsenal - The FA Community Shield
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In the Community Shield, he played in a more advanced midfield role, one that used to be occupied by Granit Xhaka, and it is expected that he will play in this role quite a lot. This could harness his ability on the ball in attacking areas, and perhaps even increase his goal and assist output.

Already one of the biggest names in the Premier League, and an England international, Rice has all the tools to become a superstar at Arsenal in the Champions League, and can help his new club to even more glory than he has tasted with West Ham.

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