Gary Neville has admitted he agrees with Roy Keane's view that Declan Rice has 'a lot to do' to become a top midfielder.
England international Rice is enduring a difficult patch of form with West Ham this season with David Moyes' men getting sucked into a relegation battle - and though he's usually their talisman, the defensive midfielder has been unable to find his best quality to inspire them.
Rice has long been linked with the likes of United, his old club Chelsea and league leaders Arsenal - but his under-par displays this season have led to some question marks over his quality.
His tendancy to drift in and out of games was highlighted by Roy Keane before Rice's Hammers were beaten 3-1 by Man United in the FA Cup - with the Old Trafford legend claiming he 'goes through the motions' and is a long way from being on the same levevel as the top midfielders.
And his former United team-mate Neville did not argue with Keane's point of view, saying that if scoring and assisting was not in his game then he needs to highlight his value by becoming a 'destroyer'.
Gary Neville has claimed Declan Rice has 'a lot to do' to become a top midfielder in the future
The Sky Sports pundit (L) agreed with Roy Keane's view on the West Ham captain
'I heard what Roy said and I do agree,' he said during an interview with
Gary Neville agrees with Roy Keane that West Ham's Declan Rice can still improve as a midfielder 📈 pic.twitter.com/ygHPB3vgxU— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) March 2, 2023
'I love Declan Rice, but I've said this a long time… when we do Monday Night Football we have a tactical camera. I feel Declan knows the position but when I look at world class holding midfielders - he doesn't score or assist. You then have to be a destroyer and know the subtilties of getting on the ball from the back four.'
Neville also suggested a new club could be the spark he needs - claiming he would not spend more than £100m on Rice if he was Man United.
'He needs to work under a new set up, he needs to play at a new club,' he added. 'For me, I wouldn't be spending £100-£200m if I was United, I’d spend £50 or £60m. I feel in that position he has a lot of growth. For a holding player, it feels like there’s a cap of £65m. It doesn’t feel like a £100m position.
'You’d have to have someone scoring 10 or 15 goals and lots of assists. The market gets destroyed every year in each position. For me if Declan can go to a bigger club that would be great.
Neville said Rice didn't score or assist enough and insisted he was not worth more than £60m
'He’s a brilliant lad but he’s got a lot of growth and lot to do to get to level of Casemiro and Rodri, who are playing at the tops of their games.'
Keane was scathing of Rice before he had even taken to the pitch against the Red Devils on Wednesday night, with the Hammers losing 3-1 having gone 1-0 up.
He played down the 'PR' around the player and said he 'hasn't been great and hasn't kicked on' this season.
Keane said: 'He’s got to focus on doing well for West Ham this season. I don’t think he’s been that great this season. He’s not really kicked on for all the talk about him and all the PR coming out of west ham about him… I think he needs to do a lot more.
'He doesn’t score enough goals and he doesn’t get enough assists.’
At that moment, fellow pundit Ian Wright interjected, saying: 'Wow'
He said moving to a new club under a new set up could be what Rice needs to spring to life
Keane hit back: 'You disagree? That’s good. I hope you disagree with me, because I think I know what I'm talking about - I played in midfield.
'For me he needs to do a lot more. Let’s see what he's like now tonight.'
Keane and Neville are not the only pundits to have questioned Rice's recent performances. Sportsmail columnist Graeme Souness also claimed he doesn't score or assist enough and even suggested he could be a better defender than midfielder.
'He doesn’t score enough goals and he’s not terribly creative,' Souness said in his column. 'He influences games by preventing West Ham conceding, not because of the creative pictures he has in his head as he plays. His numbers - seven goals and ten assists in 188 Premier League games - tells us a lot.
'For the centre-halves he plays in front of, he will be fantastic, because he’s preventing that dangerous, killer-ball played into the striker or strikers. In that sense, he’s a 10 out of 10. But ultimately, I think he might be a centre-half.'
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