‘I didn’t know’…Darren Bent says he had no idea ‘outstanding’ Arsenal player was actually so fast

Darren Bent has shared the aspect of Declan Rice’s game which has surprised him since his move to Arsenal in the summer.

Bent was speaking on talkSPORT after Declan Rice scored the winning goal to help Arsenal edge a seven-goal thriller against Luton Town on Tuesday night.
It is remarkable how quickly Rice has been settled in at the Emirates. Of course, the Gunners smashed their club-record to sign the 24-year-old during the summer.

Darren Bent says Declan Rice is so much quicker than he thought

Rice has already come up with a number of massive moments in an Arsenal shirt. And his header against the Hatters will be remembered for years to come, particularly if Mikel Arteta’s side go on and win the Premier League title this season.
It is hard to say that Rice has been a surprise given that he has stepped up to almost every challenge throughout his career. But it would appear that one attribute in Rice’s game has caught Darren Bent off-guard.

The Arsenal-supporting pundit lauded Rice after his display at Kenilworth Road, noting that his pace actually did surprise him.

“He’s so intelligent as a footballer. He just senses danger,” he told talkSPORT. “He’s quicker than I thought. I didn’t know he was that quick. But now, he’s adding more to his game, when he drives forward with the ball.
I always feel when Declan’s got the ball at his feet, or he’s looking for a pass going forward, he’s always got one eye on ‘if I lose it here, or my next pass doesn’t get there, where’s the danger? So let me put myself in a position where, if the worst comes to the worst, I can get back and defend’. He has been absolutely outstanding. Outstanding.”

The final piece in the Arsenal jigsaw

Mikel Arteta does deserve real credit for seeing what Rice would bring to this Arsenal team. Previously, Thomas Partey appeared to be so important to the Gunners. And it looked as though it was going to be incredibly difficult to find an upgrade.

However, Rice is so much more reliable than Partey when it comes to staying fit. And in truth, he has been a better performer on the pitch.

Rice is now absolutely pivotal to the way Arsenal play. He makes the spine of the side so much stronger. And he is able to get forward and contribute in attack.

You cannot argue with those who believe that Rice is going to prove to be the final piece in the jigsaw for title-chasing Arsenal.

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