Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Ferdinand reveals the Arsenal star ‘Declan Rice has been raving about’

Rio Ferdinand disclosed that Declan Rice has been enthusiastically praising his Arsenal colleague, Gabriel Magalhaes.

Despite relinquishing their position at the top of the Premier League after Sunday’s draw with Manchester City, Arsenal’s defensive performance in restricting the champions’ goal-scoring chances has garnered widespread acclaim.

Currently, Arsenal boasts the most formidable defense in the Premier League, having conceded only four goals since the beginning of the year.

While William Saliba received the man of the match award for another outstanding performance, Ferdinand revealed that it is his defensive partner who has been receiving high praise from Rice.

Despite criticism from Ferdinand last season for being too impulsive, particularly after conceding a penalty against Tottenham, the Brazilian international has evidently improved his game, emerging as one of the top defenders in the league.

‘When I saw Declan the other day and spoke to him he was waxing lyrical and raving about Gabriel,’ Rice told Vibe with Five.

‘I criticised him last season and I stand by that and rightly so. But he seems to have learned, he’s matured. He’s one of the most aggressive, but also controlled now and composed centre halves in the league.

‘His partnership with Saliba… if he was fit the back end of last season they might have won the league. His importance and stature within the team now is alongside Gabriel.’

Ferdinand also contends that Arsenal now possesses the finest central defensive duo in the English Premier League with Gabriel and Saliba, a partnership reminiscent of his legendary pairing with Nemanja Vidic during Manchester United’s prime years.

He said: ‘I don’t think you can look at one without the other. I think they’re the best partnership.

‘Van Dijk and Konate are close but these two work together better.

‘When we interviewed Nemanja Vidic, he said something really important that when you build a foundation for a great team you need a partnership at centre-half who play consistently together.

‘When it’s all said and done I don’t think Nemanja Vidic is Nemanja Vidic without Rio and I’d say the same.

‘I wouldn’t be held in the class I’m in without Nemanja Vidic by my side. That’s where I think these two are going towards.

‘When they walk out on the pitch these two are hand in hand, side by side, shoulder to shoulder. There’s no A side in that they’re both A side and they roll. I love it and I respect it.’

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