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West Ham United

Pellegrini urges Rice to model his game on Busquets, Fernandinho & Lampard

13:05 SAST 2019/03/09
Declan Rice Sergio Busquets West Ham Barcelona
The Hammers midfielder has enjoyed a stellar season at the London Stadium and his manager wants him to continue improving in the coming years

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini has told midfielder Declan Rice to study the likes of Sergio Busquets, Fernandinho and Frank Lampard to help continue his rapid rise.

At just 20, Rice has established himself as a mainstay in the Hammers side and has played every minute of the club’s last 25 Premier League games.

Last season, the youngster was used more as squad player at West Ham, but under Pellegrini’s guidance he has developed from a promising centre-back into one of the league’s most dependable holding midfielders.

He is now being tipped to make Gareth Southgate's latest England squad following confirmation of his switch of international allegiance, with Pellegrini having picked out three players he should watch to help his development.

“You can see how he has improved from the beginning of the season,” the West Ham boss told the club’s official website. “So there is no reason why he will not continue improving.

“As a young player, the more games you play and the more you work every day with good players, of course you will improve.

“There are a lot of players who he must see if he wants to improve in that position. Both those players who played some years ago and those who play in this moment. We are always trying to tell him which players he can see.

“I think that Busquets, the number five for Barcelona, is a player to see how easy it is for him to build up his team with one or two touches. He’s one of the best holding midfielders in the world, he never gives a bad pass and never gives a ball with a problem.

“Fernandinho is another player from whom he can learn a lot and if you see, some years ago, I think he must see how Frank Lampard played in that position.

“There are so many players that, if a professional player wants to learn, he can find the information to improve.

“Declan is a player who always listens to what you say and wants to learn more. If he continues to improve the way he is improving, he can probably reach the same level.”

Pellegrini is also pleased that Rice has started adding goals to his game after he netted in the recent wins against Arsenal and Newcastle United.

“For every player, of course the more goals you score the better, but I think Declan has another duty that is more important than scoring goals.

“Maybe in set pieces or from shots from the edge of the box he can score, but I think he must continue improving his view of the pitch and giving us good build-up and making solutions with the ball at his feet.”