Irish teenager compared to Keane, Carrick, Lampard and more after Old Trafford display

Irish underage international Declan Rice earned rave reviews from West Ham fans for his half-hour appearance at Old Trafford, writes Stephen Barry.

Rice had only previously featured as a last-minute substitute in the Hammers’ final game last season, but Slaven Bilic threw him in at the deep end as his side trailed Manchester United 2-0 yesterday.

It ended 4-0, thanks to two late goals, but Rice was the silver lining on an otherwise cloud-filled afternoon.

The 18-year-old Londoner qualifies to represent Ireland through the grandparent rule and won the FAI U17 International Player of the Year award last March. With the ability to play in defence or midfield, he has already caught the eye of Martin O’Neill, having been called in to senior training in May.

He has been compared to John Terry, too, even being tipped for the top by the Chelsea legend himself after they met last week.

But coming in to replace Mark Noble at the weekend, it was midfielders that fans were likening Rice to.

Naturally, some thought of another Irish legend.

He reminded other Irons fans of previous academy graduates.

While a less fondly remembered, but still talented ex-Hammer came to mind, too.

Whoever people were reminded of, Rice was being widely tipped for big things.

There was just one warning…

He’s a keeper!


By Stephen Barry

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