Declan Rice put in another assured display for West Ham against Aston Villa last night.

The 20-year-old has really impressed for the Hammers over the past 12 months or so.

He is now widely considered to be one of the best in the Premier League in his specialised position.

Aston Villa v West Ham United - Premier League
Declan Rice (Photo by James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)

Rice is so important to West Ham. His disciplined positioning enables their more attacking and creative players to thrive.

The England international will undoubtedly be a hugely important player for both club and country over the next decade or so.

And Rice told reporters after last night’s draw how he bases his game on four of the game’s very best deep-lying midfield players, as quoted by the Daily Mail:

“I think I still need to improve a lot. I’m still only 20 years old. I try to watch Fernandinho, Rodri, Carrick back in his day, Busquets, and try to take bits from their game.”

Aston Villa v West Ham United - Premier League
Declan Rice (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Despite his obvious talent, Rice has received his fair share of criticism in recent weeks.

It must be remembered that he is only 20-years-old, however.

And if he can go on to emulate all four players who he mentioned above, he will undoubtedly become a truly elite star in the game.

Rice already has a certain kind of maturity that defies his tender years. And the exciting thing for West Ham fans is that he will surely only keep getting better.

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