football

Manchester United target Declan Rice ‘way ahead of where I was at 22,’ says Roy Keane


Declan Rice has regularly been linked with a move away from West Ham after becoming an England regular (Picture: Getty Images)

Roy Keane has encouraged his old club Manchester United to sign West Ham United’s Declan Rice, saying he would improve their midfield and the 22-year-old is a better player than he was at that age.

Rice has been linked with a move to Old Trafford, while he has also regularly been touted as a signing for Chelsea, but the Hammers are standing firm and insist any interested parties would have to fork out £100m for Rice.

The England international continues to impress for club and country and the transfer talk continues to get louder, especially with a club legend at Manchester United such a big fan of Rice.

Asked whether Rice would improve the Man Utd midfield, Keane told Sky Sports: ‘I think he would, I think Declan’s improved as much as any player over the last one or two seasons, I’ve looked at him.

‘I know he’s been linked with United. If you’d asked me a year or two ago I’d have thought, “give him another year or two in terms of maturity.”

‘He’s 22, I look to where I was at 22 and he’s way ahead of where I was at 22.’

Liverpool legend Graeme Souness is less convinced by Rice, feeling he lacks the quality on the ball to make it as a world class midfielder and may be better suited as a defender, but Keane disagrees.

‘I think the next step will come for him when he’s playing at a higher level, I mean for Man Utd in Champions League, competing for trophies, he’s obviously a regular for England,’ said the Irishman.

‘The big plusses for him, there’s a lot more to come from him, Graeme’s talking about forward passes and a bit of cuteness, I think that will come with bigger games.

‘He’s always available, he plays the games, that’s a big plus. He’s a big presence out there. I’m not a big fan of the United midfield, I think they’re a bit short.’

Keane has been critical of Fred in the past (Picture: Getty Images)

Another former Manchester United star, Teddy Sheringham, would also like to see the Red Devils snap up Rice, also comparing him favourably to Keane in central midfield.

‘I thought Declan Rice was our [England’s] outstanding player at Euro 2020,’ said Sheringham. ‘I was very disappointed when he got brought off in the final, it was the wrong decision. We couldn’t retain possession when it was tough against the Italians – and he was one player who did retain possession.

‘He moved like a Rolls Royce with the ball out of a problem and then found a pass after that. It’s invaluable to be able to do that and he showed what a top player he is. He’s a top player so he will be going somewhere quite soon.

‘He’ll definitely be on Manchester United’s radar. He’s in the mould of Roy Keane and Michael Carrick, who were two top, top players, which you’ve got to have in midfield for Manchester United. So he’d easily fit in there.’


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