"He is a very good player" - Such is the esteem Joe Cole holds Declan Rice in.
Granted a start against fierce rivals Tottenham Hotspur tonight, Cole is familiar with the expectations that come with being a breakthrough talent from the West Ham academy.
Part of a golden generation that produced the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Michael Carrick, Cole believes that Rice may well be an outstanding academy talent in his own right.
Selected to start against Manchester City in early December, Rice's biggest professional test to date was not without its difficulties.
Yet, ahead of another huge test this evening, David Moyes once again demonstrated his faith in the underage Irish defender for the Hammers' tough trip to Wembley where they face Spurs.
It is under Moyes that Cole believes Rice can make the necessary advances he needs to at this point of his career:
I think he's got the perfect manager in David Moyes ... he's going to learn how to defend.
Praising his versatility and willingness to play wherever he is required on the pitch, Cole's description of the centre-back made him sound like a modern day John O'Shea - something Irish football fans would scarcely say no to in the current climate.
Regarding his involvement with the club that he has been with since a young teenager, Cole was adamant that Rice could go on to become a real fan's favourite:
They've not seen a young player come through in a long time, and stay there.
This kid here, looking at him, he could get in and stay in; and that's what the punters thrive off. They want to see one of their own in there.
High praise indeed from a man who is well aware of the demands that come with being a West Ham player, lets hope for Ireland's sake that Cole is correct in this glowing account of Rice's prospects.