Martin Odegaard hails Declan Rice for hitting 'another level' following big-money Arsenal transfer

Martin Odegaard believes Declan Rice has taken his game to “another level” since joining Arsenal.

The midfielder arrived at Arsenal in the summer from West Ham after the Gunners paid £105million to sign him.

Rice has proved a huge success since then, developing into a No8 who can have an impact at both ends of the pitch.

The 25-year-old scored one and setup another in the 3-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday, meaning he now has a career-best tally of seven goals and nine assists this season.

“Amazing,” said Odegaard. “To come to a new club is never easy but he has come in the most natural way.

“And the way he is playing, adding goals and assists, he has taken his game to another level and we are so lucky to have him.

“He has given us so much in so many areas. [He has been] brilliant.”

Arsenal’s win over Bournemouth means they are top of the Premier League and one point clear of Manchester City with two games to go.

Next up, the Gunners head to Old Trafford - a ground where Arsenal have plenty of history after winning the title there in 2002.

They can’t do that this year, with City in control of the title race as they have a game in hand, but Odegaard says the squad are well aware of the past and can use it as inspiration.

“We have heard the stories and we have seen what has happened there, how much it meant for the club’s supporters,” he said.

“It is a part of the history and it is something we want to do again. We want to make the fans happy again.

“It has been a big goal for a long time to win something so that’s what we are pushing for and we keep going until the end.

Declan Rice has hit the ground running since joining Arsenal from West Ham (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Declan Rice has hit the ground running since joining Arsenal from West Ham (Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

“We have to focus on ourselves. We don’t know what other teams will do but we put on a good performance against Bournemouth, we keep putting pressure on Man City so we just have to keep going and then go again.

“We are used to playing in big games. We have played in a lot of big stadiums and it is a normal thing for us.

“We go there with one goal and that’s to get the three points so it is any other game.”

Arsenal have not won the title since 2004, when they went the whole season unbeaten under Arsene Wenger.

And asked to give a message for the fans, Odegaard said: “Just keep believing, keep pushing us, we will push and do everything until the last day and see what happens.”