Darren Bent has compared West Ham midfielder Declan Rice to Premier League record holder Gareth Barry for his performances for both club and country.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider after England’s win over Bulgaria, the former Aston Villa and Three Lions striker says that the 20-year-old’s rise through the ranks appears to have happened overnight after good, but not rave, reviews.
Rice has emerged as a mainstay in the West Ham side after his breakthrough 2018/19 campaign, Manuel Pellegrini moving him from a centre-back to a midfield role in east London.
Bent says that the former Chelsea youngster has impressed him with the manner in which he has performed his duties both in the league and on the international stage, comparing him to Premier League record appearance holder Barry.
Bent told Football Insider: “He’s playing really well in that role. I know there’s been a bit of talk about him but it seems to have happened overnight. People have spoken about his performances and how well he’s played but I’ve not heard people rave about him.
“I’ve heard people say he’s played well and started well but I haven’t people speak about him the way they have about other West Ham players. All of a sudden, he’s quietly going about his business and sometimes you need that.
“Gareth Barry, for the longest time, probably didn’t the plaudits he deserved. He does the simple stuff really well. Declan Rice is making that position his own and well done to him. He’s perfect for that role, he plays it week in, week out.”
Rice has already played 74 times for West Ham since breaking through into the first-team, including featuring in every minute of the club’s Premier League campaign this season.
His appearance against Bulgaria was his fourth England outing, having changed allegiances from the Republic of Ireland.