ARSENAL hero Jack Wilshere has hailed Manchester United transfer target Declan Rice as the BEST defensive midfielder in world football.
Wilshere played alongside Rice at West Ham between 2018 to 2020.
Rice has since come on leaps and bounds, moving into midfield and becoming a key member of Gareth Southgate’s young England squad.
In fact, Rice has improved so much that he is the BEST defensive midfielder in world football, according to Wilshere.
Rice’s commanding performances in the middle of the park have attracted interest from football’s elite clubs.
Both Manchester clubs as well as Chelsea and Liverpool reportedly hold an interest in Rice.
And even Real Madrid have been mentioned as potential suitors.
Wilshere hailed Rice as better than Liverpool’s Fabinho and said he hopes he ends up in an Arsenal shirt.
He said after West Ham’s gutsy 1-1 draw with Lyon: “Tell me a better DMF [defensive midfielder] than Declan Rice right now?
“Can’t think of anyone [who] can do what Dec can…”
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On Fabinho, Wilshere said: “Doesn’t have the presence Dec has. Dec can do everything and more.”
Wilshere later added: “[Sergio] Busquets is the only one 3 or 4 years ago.
“And remember he played in a team that dominated possession in every game.
“Dec’s job is harder in this team. He could play in any team in Europe. Fact. Let’s hope it’s Arsenal.”
West Ham’s valuation of Rice matches Wilshere’s comments.
Hammers boss David Moyes has insisted his star man and captain isn’t for sale.
But he seemingly placed a £150million price tag on Rice’s head.
Moyes said: “The first thing to say is that he is not for sale.
“But if you are interested, it will be north of that, because £100m was cheap last summer and £150m just now would be minimum – but he is not for sale.”
West Ham will be hoping Rice proves he’s the best defensive midfielder in the world on Thursday when they travel to face Lyon.
A place in the Europa League semi-finals is up for grabs and they’ll play either Barcelona or Eintracht Frankfurt for a place in May’s final.
Moyes will be without key defenders Aaron Cresswell – who was sent off in the first leg – and Kurt Zouma.
Zouma picked up an ankle injury in the 2-0 loss to Brentford at the weekend.
Inconsistent defender Issa Diop, who has at times shown flashes of brilliance, could be handed a chance to get his Hammers career back on track.
Opponents Lyon are also facing an injury nightmare of their own.
Starters Anthony Lopes, Houssem Aouar and Tanguy Ndombele could all miss out.