Declan Rice: Jack Wilshere hails West Han star as ‘perfect fit’ for Arsenal
Jack Wilshere believes Declan Rice would be a “perfect fit” at Arsenal and would develop as a player under Mikel Arteta.
The West Ham captain has been linked with a move away from the London Stadium this summer, with Arsenal emerging as a front-runner among potential suitors for the 24-year old.
Rice collected his 41st England in Sunday’s Euro 2024 qualification win over Ukraine, where he was spotted talking to Gunners left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko at full-time.
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The defensive midfielder made his West Ham debut in 2017 and was installed as club captain upon Mark Noble’s retirement last summer.
He also spent time playing in the Hammers midfield with Wilshere and the former Arsenal star, who now manages the Gunners Under-18s side, has witnessed enough of Rice’s ability first-hand to have concluded he would be a hit at the Emirates Stadium.
“He’s a midfielder who can do anything,” Wilshere told the PA news agency.
“Anyone who supports any club would want Dec to join.
“If I’m talking from a selfish point of view, in north London, I think he would be very good under Mikel’s watch.
“Mikel would develop him, bring him on even more and he would be massive for the team as well. I have had conversations with Dec and told him what he is doing in unbelievable, he is captain of a big Premier League club and is always learning.
“You have to be respectful to West Ham, that is his club, but his future is in his hands and it’s very exciting for him because he’s got everything with him now and he’s picking up more and more, he’s growing into this man who could play anywhere.
“I’m looking forward to wherever he goes. I hope it is Arsenal, it would be a massive signing and a perfect fit.”
Injuries forced Wilshere to retire at the age of 30 having represented Bolton, Bournemouth and AGF as well as both Arsenal and West Ham.
He was capped 34 times by England and has been impressed by Rice’s performances on the international scene alongside teenage sensation Jude Bellingham.
“Dec’s been doing it now for a few years with England, Jude since the World Cup and was showing glimpses before that,” Wilshere, who will play for England in this year’s Soccer Aid, added.
“These two are special, special talents – I look at them and they can do everything. They literally can do everything – are they ball-winning midfielders? Yes, they are. Can they create things? Yes, they can. Can they disrupt things in midfield? Yes.
“So they’re setting the benchmark now for any English midfielder or really any midfielder around the Premier League looking to the level of what they need to get to or what they need to do.
“These boys can do everything and physically as well they’re monsters and they can decide games.
“I really enjoyed my time at West Ham with Dec, I loved watching him grow and learn and play and Jude is one of my favourite players to watch.
“I just love the way he’s fearless, he will take the ball in any situation and drive the team forward and obviously what he’s doing for Dortmund – scoring goals, captaining them at his age, he is a special talent.”
Tickets for Soccer Aid For UNICEF on Sunday 11th June 2023, are now on sale via http://www.socceraid.org.uk/tickets with a family of four able to attend for just £60 – two adults and two children