West Ham star Declan Rice is better than Manchester United legend Roy Keane at 22, says Stuart Pearce

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Declan Rice continues to go from strength to strength at West Ham  (AFP via Getty Images)
Declan Rice continues to go from strength to strength at West Ham (AFP via Getty Images)

Stuart Pearce has compared West Ham midfielder Declan Rice to Manchester United legends Roy Keane and Bryan Robson and says the England man can go as far as he wants in football.

Rice has gone to another level in claret and blue this season, driving the Hammers into the Premier League's top four and to the summit of their Europa League group.

The England international, who played a pivotal role in the Three Lions reaching the final of Euro 2020 over the summer, has also added goals to his game, scoring his fourth of the season for club and country in the 4-1 win at Aston Villa on Sunday.

Pearce has played a role in Rice's development as part of David Moyes's coaching staff and feels he is better than former Manchester United midfielder Keane, whom he played alongside during their time at Nottingham Forest.

"[Rice can go] as far as he wants," Pearce told talkSPORT.

"Every game he takes the field the expectation from me [is that] he needs to be the best player on the pitch, in every game.

"He's got the tools to do that, the stature to do it. He's got everything. He is an absolute pleasure to work with at this place. He drives us in midfield.

"I was sat next to [West Ham coach] Billy McKinlay at the weekend and he said to me: 'Is he as good as Roy Keane at the same age?' I said I think he is probably slightly better.

"We had Roy at Forest with us before he moved on to Manchester United and I'd have to say he is slightly better than Roy. Whether he'll have the career that Roy had... it is all there for him though.

"He's got to stay fit, keep learning and progressing. This season we're fortunate that he's added a couple of goals to his game which I always thought he had the ability to do so. He drives past people with the ball, breaks things up. He's an all-round midfielder, he's probably a Bryan Robson."

Pearce is not the first to make the comparison with Keane. The man himself, who once slated Rice for his early England displays, even feels he is a level above at this age.

Speaking on Sky Sports recently, Keane said: “I think he’s way ahead of me when I was 22."

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