Declan Rice finally puts Roy Keane in his place for the damning review of four weaknesses

Declan Rice has been one of the best midfielders in the Premier League this season and his performances suggest he may have heeded Roy Keane’s earlier criticism

Keane did not hold back in his criticism of Rice
Keane did not hold back in his criticism of Rice

Two years after being slammed by Manchester United legend Roy Keane, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has now certainly silenced his vocal critic.

The England international has attracted interest from the Premier League’s top sides, with the Hammers having previously imposed a £100million price tag on their vice-captain last summer – a fee David Moyes says has only risen.

But Keane was previously unconvinced by Rice’s “hype.” He went so far as to reel off numerous parts of his game that he needs to improve in a scathing assessment of the midfielder.

The former midfielder told ITV Sport: “If he needs to improve there are many aspects when you think about it. He’s had a lot of praise over the last few months, I worked with him when he was with the Ireland team.

“Where does he need to improve, where do I start? His positional play is not consistent enough in my opinion, he doesn’t stay with the runners, he’s sloppy in possession.

“I can go on. He’s one of those players, a few months ago everyone liked him and loved him. He’s one of those players that’s now been kicked out of the team because he wasn’t consistent for West Ham.”

Rice is now the paragon of consistency in the middle of the park for the Hammers, almost leading them to a Europa League final – with a 3-2 loss to Frankfurt in the semifinals on Thursday night. His performances at Euro 2020 and since then on the international stage have also made it clear that he is also a crucial element of Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions.

Declan Rice is now West Ham’s most important player

United have been closely linked with Rice in recent weeks, believing the 23-year-old could be a long-term solution to the team’s midfield woes. However, whether new boss Erik ten Hag is willing to pay a monumental fee in his first window at Old Trafford remains to be seen, especially considering midfield is far from the only problem.

Chelsea have also been linked with Rice in recent years, although their current status as a sanctioned club means they cannot sign any players until their ownership matters are settled. Todd Boehly’s consortium are reportedly in exclusive talks to buy the Stamford Bridge outfit.

But for all the interest, Rice appears determined to cutlery with West Ham – and right the wrongs of their Europa League exit. He told BT Sport: “I’m coming out of there, I’ve lost big games, the guys in there have lost big games, but I’m coming out of there with my head held high. We managed so well.

“Nobody expected us to get past Seville, nobody expected us to get past Lyon. We had a real belief from camp with the fans and even players from other teams texting us that they wanted to go out there and do it, so we wanted to do it.”

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