Declan Rice has admitted he no longer wants to be viewed as a defensive midfielder, with the West Ham star believing he is best used in a box-to-box role.
Ahead of the current season, West Ham manager David Moyes declared he wanted to see more attacking output from Rice and the midfielder has responded.
Rice has popped up with four goals and three assists for club and country so far this season and has noticeably been getting higher up the pitch for the Hammers.
The 22-year-old name-checked Yaya Toure and Patrick Vieira as idols of his and is hoping to emulate their all-action style and become known as a more all-round midfielder, rather than just simply a defensive sitter.
“I want to be progressive and athletic. I feel like I can do that in a midfield sense. I feel like now I’m not just a holding midfielder anymore,” Rice said.
“I was always labelled as one that just sits in front of the back four, I really now want to see myself as a box-to-box player where I can get up and down and start creating things as well as getting back and helping the team as well. There is still a long way to go and I can improve so much.”
Rice is clear he still has improvements to make from his game and it is not just former players he looks up to but current opponents he feels he can also learn from.
“Vieira and Yaya are the ones [I looked up to]. Look at who you’re playing against here. Rodri and Fernandinho are top, top players on and off the ball, and you want to reach those kind of levels as well.”
Despite Rice’s modesty, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was effusive in his praise for the Hammers captain, calling his performance “exceptional” against the champions.
High praise indeed coming from one of the game’s managerial greats.
Source by Football London