West Ham United academy boss Terry Westley has compared young Hammers Declan Rice to Chelsea legend John Terry, stating that the versatile youngster has a massive future ahead of him in the game.
The 18-year-old has starred in the youth grades at the London club and has been given his opportunity in the first team by Slaven Bilic this season.
Rice has made five Premier League appearances this season and has shown that he can play in central midfield or in defence.
The teenager was part of the West Ham side that came back from 2-0 down to beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-2 at Wembley on Wednesday night, helping the Hammers through to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup.
Rice also came off the bench to replace Jose Fonte in the 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace on Saturday and put in another assured performance.
Westley has praised the West Ham rising star, stating that he is destined to be a ‘top player’ once he matures.
“I saw him on Thursday morning after the Spurs game and he was absolutely beaming,” the coach told Claret and Hugh.
“He told me he had never enjoyed anything so much and couldn’t wait for more.
“That shows the lad’s character and I reckon he learned more in that 90 minutes than he will learn in a season – a superb experience for him.
“There’s a bit of the John Terry about him because he’s not afraid to throw himself in in there and but he has tremendous composure and always has time on the ball.
“He is going to be a top player – make no mistake about that.”
With captain Mark Noble’s performances splitting the West Ham fans over the last few months, a section of the London Stadium faithful have been calling for Rice to be a permanent fixture in the Hammers midfield.
The young Irishman has already shown that he has all the attributes to excel in the Premier League but needs to keep his feet on the ground, with the example of contemporary Reece Oxford showing how a growing talent can go from hero to zero quickly.