Speaking on Sky Sports after their coverage of the goalless draw between the two sides, Jamie Redknapp was happy to hail Rice as an important part of West Ham, saying:
“I think Declan Rice at 19 is a fantastic young talent and the sort of player that could be the Mark Noble of the future for this club if they look after him.
“To be playing in that position and playing with such an assurance for a young man, I’ve been impressed with him.”
This is not the first time that Redknapp has praised the young Irishman, as in a previous piece for The Daily Mail, he wrote: "This kid is the next John Terry. At 19 he plays with maturity, is unbelievably brave and comfortable on the ball."
Rice was eligible to represent England internationally, but instead opted to play for the Republic of Ireland in May 2017. He has made 24 appearances for West Ham this season and the youngster, who was released by Chelsea when he was 14 years old, recently retained his title of West Ham's Young Hammer of the Year.
Chelsea's loss has definitely been West Ham's gain, as the young defender has fitted in seamlessly into the West Ham side. Calm on the ball and with a strong defensive instinct, Rice has the potential to develop into a star performer, and will be hoping to retain the spot on the team sheet next year that his performances in the current campaign have deserved.