West Ham’s Declan Rice has admitted that he watches Chelsea star N’Golo Kante for tips to help his own game.
Rice, 21, is a highly-rated defensive midfielder that has captained the Hammers this season when Mark Noble is off the pitch and he’s also a regular with Gareth Southgate’s England team.
Eurosport reported back in November that Rice remains a transfer target for Chelsea and that he’s got a £70million price tag.
He’s a name that has been heavily linked with a potential switch to Stamford Bridge in the future, but right now he’s a key part of the West Ham side and arguably their most important individual.
The youngster has explained that he’s studied clips of Chelsea’s Kante to help him.
Kante has been regarded as the world’s best defensive midfielder in the last few years, something which has seen him win two Premier League titles (Leicester and Chelsea) and a World Cup with France.
The 29-year-old is an expert in a deep-lying midfield role and Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is getting the best out of him in that position this season.
“The main one I’ve always watched is Kante in my position, the way he protects the back four, the way he intercepts, always in position. I think I’m fairly good at that but there are still things I can do that can take me to the next level,” Rice told the Times.
“I’m so enthusiastic just to go and win the ball back where pretty much everything would come through me anyway if I stood right in the middle. That’s what [Sergio] Busquets and Kante do.”
Kante really has set the benchmark in recent times when it comes to a holding midfielders, with plenty of people comparing him to ex-Blues enforcer Claude Makelele.
His infectious work-rate in the centre of the park allows him to help cover the defence and he’s so intelligent in the way he reads the game to break up attacks.