By 90Min
March 26, 2019

Former England international Joe Cole was seriously impressed by Declan Rice, who was made his first start for the Three Lions against Montenegro on Monday night.

The 20-year-old West Ham midfielder made his debut on Friday night at Wembley, playing 30 minutes in England's 5-0 win over the Czech Republic.

Michael Regan/GettyImages

But Rice showed a maturity beyond his years during his sides 5-1 win in Montenegro, as he replaced Jordan Henderson and was a good link between the defence and midfield.

“Yeah he is a centre-half by trade, you can see that,” Cole said on ITV's coverage of the match, as quoted by Foreverwestham.com.

“He wants to sniff out the danger, he’s not interested in getting in there and trying to look like Pirlo."

Like Rice, Cole also came through the West Ham youth academy, and he added: “He is very good technically, he knits the game together and maybe the people at home might not see what he does well, what we’re seeing here.

“But he’s giving us the chance to counter.”

Rice has seriously impressed Hammers fans and anyone who has seen his performances this season. The holding midfielder has played 28 times this season for West Ham, scoring twice.

His debut followed a long a controversial debate over which country Rice would represent, who despite being born in Kingston upon Thames, has represented the Republic of Ireland 20 times at youth level, and even won three senior caps for the Irish.

England fans will be very thankful that Rice has chosen to play in white rather than green, and he joins a growing list of exciting young players Gareth Southgate can call upon for next summer's European Championship.

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