Declan Rice may have only played two Premier League games for Arsenal, but Ally McCoist believes he already looks like the signing of the summer.
Mikel Arteta made clear his intention to make the former West Ham star his No.1 transfer target, and Rice made the switch a across London after a £105m transfer.
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Other Premier League big sides have strengthened significantly this summer in a order to bolster their own midfield engine rooms with the likes of Moises Caicedo, Romeo Lavia, Mason Mount, Mateo Kovacic and Szoboszlai all joining new teams who would expect to challenge for the top four at least.
After a man of the match performance against Crystal Palace on Monday, however, McCoist believes the England midfielder stands above the rest.
He said: ‘No prizes for guessing, for me I think he’s been, and I knew he would be, absolutely terrific since he’s gone to the Arsenal and that would have to be Declan Rice.
‘I think he’s a solid citizen he’s obviously got bundles and bundles of talent but even when your back’s against the wall you want him in your team.’
Operating in a deeper role than he had been deployed in against Nottingham last week, Rice’s defensive instincts proved key in the closing stages to help his team record a valuable clean sheet.
Rice had shown the attacking side of his game in the opening 45 minutes with several purposeful surges into opposition territory and created the clearest chance of the night, only to be denied an assist as a consequence of Eddie Nketiah’s poor finish.
Asked to assess Rice’s display after the game, Arteta said: ‘I think it was great. He bossed the midfield and dominated the game. He was very influential, both attacking and defending.
‘Today he played a different position to last week because of what we expected from Palace and what we needed today, and I think he was really good.’
Rice added: ‘I take it every day as it comes. I keep trying to listen, trying to focus, building relationships with my teammates on the pitch, and obviously doing what the manager wants of me. I think if I stick to those plans I’ll be just fine in an Arsenal shirt.’