Jamie Carragher has debunked a lazy myth about West Ham United star Declan Rice after last night’s win over Leeds United.
West Ham beat Leeds 2-0 to go fifth with a game in hand on the four sides above them.
Much of the focus before and after the game was on the importance of Rice and his midfield partner Tomas Soucek.
Carragher waxes lyrical about ‘top player’ Rice
Sky Sports pundit Carragher offered a superb, in-depth analysis of the pair.
And in doing so he debunked the myth that Rice only passes sideways and doesn’t score enough goals.
“I’m a big fan, he was another one that burst onto the scene at a young age,” Carragher said on Sky Sports’s Monday Night Football.
“He then got a little bit of criticism at times – I thought unjustly really – because you know he’s a regular for England at that age (22), the actual football he’s played – I read something that in the last three seasons I think it’s only Conor Coady that has played more than him.
“We highlighted he’s played every minute this season, we also highlighted what the manager’s said about him before the game (that he is worth more than £100million).
‘Rice was pigeon-holed’ – Carra
“He is a fantastic player, he really is, I’m a huge fan of his and you can see he thinks about his game. You hear him talk about Yaya Toure, Patrick Vieira bursting forward – he’s not thinking of himself as just a sitting midfield player.
“I think he almost got pigeon-holed with that and he was ‘always going to end up a centre-back’. And I’m like ‘I’m not quite so sure I think he’s a really good midfield player’.
“I think his passing is really good, I like that, he drives forward, very rarely gets beaten one vs one… got that real physical strength as well in his upper body.
‘It’s impossible’ Pundit brilliantly debunks lazy Rice myth
“I think he’s a top player Declan Rice. But when you’re talking about (criticism) getting more goals and assists, when you’ve got a guy next to you (Soucek) who has already got eight goals, it’s very difficult to be that man, because you’ve got to sit there.
“If Soucek always gets in the box when the balls are coming in from out wide as West Ham do, Declan Rice has to hold. So it’s very difficult to have two midfield players, who play in a two, to both get goals. It’s impossible.”
West Ham fans of course have known this about Rice for some time.
But it felt good hearing a respected pundit like Carragher put some of the Rice myths to bed in front of the watching millions.