Ahead of West Ham's 2-1 defeat at home to Manchester United in September, Roy Keane said he thought that 22-year-old Declan Rice was a better player than he was at that age.
"I know he's been linked with United," said Keane.
"If you'd have asked me a year or two ago I would have said 'No, I'll give him another year or two', in terms of maturing.
"He's 22 - I look to where I was when I was 22 and I think he's way ahead of me where I was at 22."
That is an assessment of Rice's ability with which Stuart Pearce agrees. Pearce is well-placed to make that judgment. He was a teammate of Keane's at Nottingham Forest from when he joined as a teenager to when he moved to Man Utd in 1993. He is also a first team coach at West Ham, working with Rice on a daily basis.
Stuart Pearce on Declan Rice / Roy Keane comparisons
? “Declan Rice can go as far as he wants. He’s got everything! At the same age, I think he’s better than Roy Keane!”
? “Plays with a smile on his face and a joy to work with. A Bryan Robson-type!”
Stuart Pearce believes Declan Rice is better than Roy Keane at the same age! ? pic.twitter.com/dRkJN3UFrc
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) November 2, 2021
"As far as he wants," Pearce told Talksport when asked how far Rice can go in his career.
“Every game he takes the field in, the expectation is he should be the best player. He’s got the tools to do that, he’s got the stature to do it, he’s got everything. He’s an absolute pleasure to work with, he drives the midfield.
“I was sat next to Billy McKinlay (West Ham coach) at the weekend and he asked if he was as good as Roy Keane at the same age. I said ‘do you know what? I think he might be slightly better.’
“We had Roy with us at Forest before he moved onto Manchester United and I’d have to say he’s slightly better than Roy.
“Whether he’ll have the career that Roy had… it’s all there for him though. He’s got to stay fit, keep learning, keep progressing.
“This season we’re fortunate that he’s added a couple of goals to his game which I always thought he had the ability to do so. He drives past people, he breaks things up, he’s just an all-round midfielder.
“He’s probably a Bryan Robson of yesteryear.”
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