Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand was left surprised at the reception that Declan Rice received during Arsenal’s Premier League clash against West Ham United on Sunday, Jan. 11.
The Gunners earned a commanding 6-0 win and Rice was on fire against his former club. Apart from bagging two assists, the midfielder scored from a long way outside the penalty box.
Rice, however, was jeered by the home fans during the game, leaving Ferdinand surprised. The United legend said (via The Boot Room):
“When I look at Declan’s situation, I see it being quite similar to mine. He actually did more for West Ham than I ever did. Stayed longer, won something. And then I saw the game yesterday and I saw him being booed, you were there, you said it was crazy, and I’m like, really? He didn’t leave you in the lurch. He won a trophy, he’s gone to a team that’s competing for the Champions League.”
“Maybe because it’s a London team, maybe Arsenal, I don’t know, but I just really was a bit surprised. I don’t think Michael Carrick or Joe Cole got booed. They went to London teams as well. So it’s a bit strange. And he’s someone who outwardly has always shown huge respect to West Ham.”
Declan Rice completed a summer move from West Ham to Arsenal for a reported £105 million. He made 245 appearances for the Hammers before the transfer and helped them win the UEFA Conference League last season.
Since his summer move, Rice has made 33 appearances for the Gunners, scoring four goals and providing five assists.
Gary Neville compares Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice to Patrick Vieira
Gary Neville thinks Rice’s presence is key to the Gunners’ midfield harmony and even compared the midfielder to the legendary Patrick Vieira. Neville said:
“With Rice there, you always feel like they can get there. Vieira was like that for Arsenal for years, used to cover the ground so well. It was unbelievable what he used to do.”
Rice has already shown his ability to operate across the midfield from different positions. He will be a crucial player for the rest of the campaign as Mikel Arteta’s side look to sustain their challenge for the Premier League title.