Martin Keown suggested that defensive midfield is not West Ham ace Declan Rice’s best position, when writing his regular column for the Daily Mail.

The Hammers youngster began his career as a centre-back, before being moved into the ‘number six role’ a couple of years ago.

And the 20-year-old has really impressed.

Kosovo v England - UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifier

Declan Rice (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

The West Ham man was rewarded for his fine form over the past 18 months with a call-up to the England national team, and he has gone on to earn seven caps for his country.

Rice is a vitally important player for the Hammers, and he is unquestionably their most prized asset.

Keown believes that the former Chelsea academy graduate’s future lies in defence.


The ex-Arsenal and England man told the Daily Mail:

England U21 v Austria U21 - UEFA Under 21 Championship Qualifier

Martin Keown (Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Declan Rice is a centre half being asked to act as a pivot. Sometimes he plays it too safe and I’d like to see him encouraged to be more creative.”

Keown might have a point, but any West Ham fan will point to just how good Rice has been in the deep-lying midfield role over the past 18 months.

Who knows, he might end up evolving into a top class centre-back.

But as things stand, Manuel Pellegrini and Gareth Southgate will surely have no plans to move the 20-year-old back into defence anytime soon.

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