Declan Rice has launched a fierce defence of Paul Pogba, describing the Manchester United midfielder as an “unbelievable” player.
Pogba, 28, has faced criticism for a lack of consistency since rejoining United from Juventus for a then world record fee of £89m in 2016.
The France international is out of contract at the end of the season and could leave Old Trafford on a free transfer, with PSG and Real Madrid reportedly interested in the midfielder.
Rice, 23, has been tipped as a potential replacement for Pogba at United after continuing to impress at West Ham.
But when asked to pick his top five midfielders in the Premier League, Rice was quick to defend Pogba.
"He gets criticised but he's honestly one of the top three players I've ever played against," Rice told BT Sport.
"He's just so strong, so good on the ball. He can take the ball under a crazy amount of pressure and get out of it with an unbelievable bit of skill.
"He knows how to play one and two touch and can play long passes. He’s so, so good and I think you see the best of him probably when he plays for France.
"Since he's been in the Premier League there have been a lot of opinions about him but he is unbelievable.
"My second game for West Ham was at Old Trafford, we lost 4-0 and I came on with half hour to go and he ran the show.
"I remember I went into a 50-50 with him, I hit him and I thought, 'what have I run into?', he was rock solid, he was so strong."
Rice also had praise for another Manchester United transfer target, Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma.
"Every time we've played against Brighton, the way they pass the ball, Graham Potter’s got them playing unbelievable football and Bissouma is a really great player," Rice added.
"When you play against him you see what he's like. He is strong in the tackle, can bring the ball forward and finds passes.
"He's got a bit of flair about him as well. He’s consistent as well."
Rice would also pick Manchester City duo Bernardo Silva and Rodri, and Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic and his three other selections.
"Mateo Kovavic... he is incredible. You don't really realise how good he is until you play against him," Rice added.
"He can take the ball in tight areas, his dribbling ability is incredible, he can find a pass, he can control games, fairly quick as well. He's always been a tough opponent to play against.
"Next one I'm gonna go Bernardo Silva. He is so, so good. For someone that’s so small, he’s got a tenacious side to him with the way he presses and defends for his team.
"With the ball, he's like a magician. I speak to the England boys [who play for Man City] when we go away and they say he's one of the best players they’ve ever played with.
"I'm going to have to go with Rodri as well, just the way he is for that Man City side, he's a great player.
"He's got that Spanish side to him where he keeps the ball moving, one and two touch and constantly knows his next pass. It took him a little bit of time to adapt to the Premier League but now he’s a real, top player."
Rice himself is also in the debate for the Premier League’s best midfielder, with United and Chelsea both strongly linked with a summer move for the England international
He is set to feature on Saturday when the Hammers take on Newcastle in the early kick-off in the Premier League.
West Ham can move back into the Champions League places if they win at the London Stadium, while Newcastle can move seven points clear of the relegation places with a win.
Featured Image Credit: BT Sport & PA Images
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