Declan Rice jumps to strong defence of “unbelievable” Paul Pogba

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is one of the top midfielders in the Premier League – and he certainly appreciates his peers in the centre of the park.

Rice has established himself as the leading light of the West Ham side. The 23-year-old has impressed onlookers with his incredible surging runs from midfield, tough tackling and inch-perfect tackling.

He also likes to pop up in the opposition area, having been involved in eight Hammers goals in all competitions this season.

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The England midfielder’s form is one of the key reasons why West Ham are performing well in Europe. As one of eight group winners, David Moyes‘s side will enter the Europa League knockout draw at the round of 16 stage.

Read: Kidderminster boss recalls Declan Rice story after FA Cup defeat

They also sit in fifth place in the Premier League table prior to Saturday’s fixture against Newcastle. Two points separates them and Manchester United in fourth.

Rice names best Premier League midfielders

Before kick-off against the Magpies, Rice participated in an interview with BT Sport. He was asked to pick his top five current Premier League midfielders.

He immediately admitted there may be “controversy” with some of his picks, given the depth of midfield talent in England’s top division.

The 23-year-old started by picking Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic. Next up was Manchester City‘s Bernardo Silva. Rice describes the Portugal international as a “magician” on the ball.

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Two of his other picks were fellow City midfielder Rodri and Brighton’s Yves Bissouma.

But perhaps the most notable selection of the video by Declan Rice was Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.

The French international is one of the most talented players in world football. He can deliver passes of any range, is a massive physical presence and knows exactly where the net is.

Paul Pogba

But the 28-year-old has been criticised for his lack of consistency in terms of club performances over recent seasons. Injuries certainly haven’t helped. While a United player, Pogba has missed over 500 days of action.

Read: Paul Pogba injury: The incredible stats that underline extent of his Man United problems

However, there is no doubting that when the Frenchman is on form, there are very few players that can even match him. And Rice takes a similar stance.

He explained: “He [Pogba] gets criticised, people criticise him, they say what they think of him. But he is honestly in the top three players I’ve ever played against

“He’s just so strong. So good on the ball, takes the ball under crazy pressure, will get out of it with a crazy amount of skill. He knows how to play one touch, two touch, can play long passes. He is so, so good.

“You see the best of him, probably, when he plays for France. Since he’s been in the Premier League, there’s been a lot of opinions on him. But he is unbelievable. Also, a top, top guy as well.”

Declan Rice recalls incredible Paul Pogba story

The West Ham midfielder then recalled an experience which underlines Pogba’s immense talents.

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He explained: “My second game for West Ham was at Old Trafford, we lost 4-0. I came on with about half an hour to go. He ran the show. I went into a 50/50 with him and I hit him. I went, ‘What have I ran into?’ He was rock solid, he was so strong.

“I love playing against Pogba, it’s always a good battle and he’s a real top guy as well.”

With West Ham and Manchester United currently in a battle for the final top four spot, the performances of Declan Rice and Paul Pogba may end up being a deciding factor in who makes it there.

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