West Ham midfielder Manuel Lanzini has made a bold call and claimed that Declan Rice can be better than Javier Mascherano, whufc.com reports.
Rice has been in sensational form for West Ham all season and Lanzini has been thoroughly impressed with his youthful team-mate.
And he believes the sky is the limit for Rice, who could go on to become better than the former Barcelona star Mascherano.
Manuel Lanzini on Declan Rice
Following Rice’s match-winning cameo against Newcastle, Lanzini was full of praise for his fellow midfielder.
The 20-year-old scored the opener (his second goal for West Ham) and then played a key role in keeping a clean sheet to deliver three points for the Hammers.
Lanzini told the club’s official website: “Declan for me is the hero of the team. I like to play with him because he has good touch, he has good recovery, I think he is one of the best players in the Premier League.
“He is [like Javier Mascherano]. I played with Mascherano and he is a very good player. He is 20 and I think Declan needs to continue like this, if he stays focused and I think he can be better than Mascherano.”
Javier Mascherano comparisons
At the peak of his career, Mascherano was considered one of the best holding midfield players in the world.
But the Argentina international – who lined up alongside Lanzini for the national team – did not enjoy much success at West Ham.
After joining alongside Carlos Tevez, Mascherano struggled to adapt to life in East London before completing his move to Liverpool.
At Liverpool and Barcelona, Mascherano carved out a successful career at the top of the game. But his fellow countryman Lanzini believes Rice could be even better.
This is a sign of just how talented Rice is and just how far the Hammers academy graduate can go in the future.