Reported Liverpool target named as 'best player on the pitch' for his country last night
Photo by Emmanuele Ciancaglini/Ciancaphoto Studio/Getty Images

Reported Liverpool target named as 'best player on the pitch' for his country last night

Reported Liverpool target Declan Rice was England’s best player as they beat Italy 2-1 last night.

That’s according to former Red Joe Cole, who was covering the game for Channel 4. Having scored the match’s opening goal, Rice was a decisive figure for England, and Cole was suitably impressed.

“He was magnificent tonight. Best player on the pitch, took his goal well. Dec is just alive to it. If that is a centre forward we are talking about instincts and naturally ability,” raved the 41-year-old.

“He was outstanding from start to finish tonight and it might get lost but he was brilliant.”

Rice pounced on a loose ball in the Italy box to slam England into an early lead in Naples. The 24-year-old looked assured throughout up against a hugely experienced Italian midfield.

Rice shows his credentials

Italy’s Marco Verratti had praised Rice in the build up to the game, and the PSG man was vindicated on Thursday evening.

Against a top midfield of Nicolo Barella, Jorginho and Verratti himself, the West Ham man didn’t look out of place. Any scouts watching on will have been sent home happy.

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As of now, those scouts could well include those from Liverpool. The Reds are still being mooted as a potential destination for Rice, despite his potentially enormous cost.

And on last night’s showing, Liverpool should put serious thought into shelling out the asking price. He may be a little older than Jude Bellingham and perhaps not quite as sought after, but make no mistake, this is a very accomplished player.

Bellingham himself is also obviously a very big fan of his. The 19-year-old stated yesterday that he ‘couldn’t wait’ to play alongside Rice in the England midfield.

For now, it still looks like a far off dream that the two will link up at Anfield next season. But there’s undeniably a chance, albeit a very, very small one. One or the other might be the best Liverpool can do. Of course, the clamour is for Bellingham, but Rice could be equally as transformative.

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