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Declan Rice: Club legend likens West Ham wonderkid to Rio Ferdinand and believes he is good enough for England

Former West Ham player Alvin Martin has likened Declan Rice to former Hammer Rio Ferdinand.

Rice was in brilliant form as  his strike helped the Hammers secure a 1-0 win over Arsenal at the London Stadium.

Rice celebrates his winning goal against the Gunners

The 19-year-old was the star of the show with manager Manuel Pellegrini telling Sky Sports after the game Rice is becoming a “complete player”.

And Martin, who played for the east London club between 1976-96, echoed these views and believes the top sides in the Premier League should seriously consider trying to buy Rice in the summer.

Martin told talkSPORT after the game: “Declan looks a high calibre player.

“This doesn’t please me to say this but I think now the bigger clubs in the division will be looking at him and thinking ‘he will fit in to our team’ – a team that’s looking to win the title.”

“That’s the sort of player I think he’s got the potential to be. He might not be there yet but I think it would be foolish for one of the top clubs not to look at him now and seriously think about taking him.

“I used to look at Rio Ferdinand at West Ham and think ‘I can’t believe Manchester United or Arsenal didn’t come in and get him [until after he signed for Leeds]’

“Because if you come and get him two or three years down the line then you’re going to have to pay a lot more money for him.

“He’s going to cost a lot more now that he’s just signed a long-term contract so West Ham are in a really great position.

Ferdinand left West Ham for Leeds before moving to Manchester United in 2002 for £30million

As well as potentially having to make a difficult decision on where he will be playing his football next summer, Rice must also decide who he wants to represent internationally.

London-born Rice is eligible for England or the Republic of Ireland as that’s where his father is from.

But Martin believes Rice is more than capable of playing for the Three Lions.

Martin added: “Declan, I believe, is someone who is destined to play for England if it’s heart’s in it. He’s good enough to play in that midfield area.”

Rice appears to be improving with every game he plays

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