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Rice has become an influential figure for West Ham manager David Moyes amid the Hammers’ blistering start to the Premier League campaign.
The 22-year-old midfielder has made 13 appearances in all competitions this season and scored three times and registered three assists.
Rice, who has been linked with United and Chelsea, also thrived in his midfield partnership with Kalvin Phillips in England’s Euro 2020 campaign in the summer.
The England international is under contract until 2024, but West Ham are pushing for Rice to commit his long-term future with fresh talks over a new deal.
Pearce is currently a first-team coach at the Hammers and played alongside Keane during his time at Nottingham Forest.
The former England Under-21s manager believes that Rice edges ahead of Keane when compared at the same age, saying the Hammers star “drives us in midfield.”
Speaking to talkSPORT, Pearce said: “[Rice can go] as far as he wants. Every game he takes the field the expectation from me [is that] he needs to be the best player on the pitch, in every game.
“He’s got the tools to do that, the stature to do it. He’s got everything. He is an absolute pleasure to work with at this place. He drives us in midfield.
“I was sat next to [West Ham coach] Billy McKinlay at the weekend and he said to me: ‘Is he as good as Roy Keane at the same age?’ I said I think he is probably slightly better.
“We had Roy at Forest with us before he moved on to Manchester United and I’d have to say he is slightly better than Roy. Whether he’ll have the career that Roy had… it is all there for him though.
“He’s got to stay fit, keep learning and progressing. This season we’re fortunate that he’s added a couple of goals to his game which I always thought he had the ability to do so.
“He drives past people with the ball, breaks things up. He’s an all-around midfielder, he’s probably a Bryan Robson.”
Featured Image Credit: PA
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