Paul Pogba receives his fair share of criticism at Manchester United but West Ham ace Declan Rice has jumped to the star’s defence while praising one of the Red Devils’ reported transfer targets
Declan Rice has launched a staunch defence of Paul Pogba while heaping praise on one of Manchester United ‘s reported transfer targets.
Pogba was labelled ‘unbelievable’ by Rice, with the West Ham star believing the Red Devils midfielder receives unfair criticism.
And United have also had Rice’s seal of approval over a possible signing: Brighton & Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma.
The Malian midfield dynamo is joined Pogba on the 23-year-old’s list of the top five midfielders in the Premier League.
“He gets criticised but he’s honestly one of the top three players I’ve ever played against,” Rice told BT Sport when picking out Pogba.
“He’s just so strong, so good on the ball. He can take the ball under a crazy amount of pressure and get out of it with an unbelievable bit of skill.”
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“He knows how to play one and two touch and can play long passes. He’s so, so good and I think you see the best of him probably when he plays for France.
“Since he’s been in the Premier League there have been a lot of opinions about him but he is unbelievable. My second game for West Ham was at Old Trafford, we lost 4-0 and I came on with half hour to go and he ran the show.
“I remember I went into a 50-50 with him, I hit him and I thought, ‘what have I run into?’, he was rock solid, he was so strong.”
Pogba’s contract at Old Trafford expires at the end of the season, with the 28-year-old expected to leave on a free transfer.
But the man potentially replacing him, Bissouma, possesses the credentials to step up to the plate – at least according to Rice.
“Every time we’ve played against Brighton, the way they pass the ball, Graham Potter ‘s got them playing unbelievable football and Bissouma is a really great player,” the England ace added.
“When you play against him you see what he’s like. He is strong in the tackle, can bring the ball forward and finds passes.
“He’s got a bit of flair about him as well. He’s consistent as well.”
So, who else made Rice’s list?
” Mateo Kovavic … he is incredible. You don’t really realise how good he is until you play against him,” he went on. “He can take the ball in tight areas, his dribbling ability is incredible, he can find a pass, he can control games, fairly quick as well.
“He’s always been a tough opponent to play against.
“Next one I’m gonna go Bernardo Silva. He is so, so good. For someone that’s so small, he’s got a tenacious side to him with the way he presses and defends for his team.
“With the ball, he’s like a magician. I speak to the England boys [who play for Man City] when we go away and they say he’s one of the best players they’ve ever played with.
“I’m going to have to go with Rodri as well, just the way he is for that Man City side, he’s a great player.
“He’s got that Spanish side to him where he keeps the ball moving, one and two touch and constantly knows his next pass. It took him a little bit of time to adapt to the Premier League but now he’s a real, top player.”