Declan Rice has recently been heaping praise on Chelsea and Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic.
The midfielder has been crucial to Chelsea’s success of late and his absence from the team during spells this seaosn was pretty noticeable.
Now, when asked by BT Sport to pick the top five midfielders currently playing in the Premier League, Declan Rice stated: "Mateo Kovacic.'
"He’s incredible. I think you don’t really realise how good he is until you play against him and obviously when you watch him, you appreciate the footballer that he is.
"He can take the ball in tight areas. His dribbling ability is unbelievable, can find a pass, can control games and is fairly quick as well. He’s always been a tough opponent to play against so definitely Kovacic.
"Every time I’ve played against him, even in the Euros, he’s done some stuff on the ball where I’ve thought wow he’s a top player."
A future partnership?
Declan Rice did spend some time on Chelsea’s books as a youth and has been heavily linked with the Blues once again of late.
And with Chelsea seemingly in need of a 4th central midfielder to add to their ranks, could Rice and Kovacic be linking up for the same side next season?
Conor Gallagher is expected to return to Chelsea and compete for a starting berth next term, but Rice is still probably the better defensive midfielder and with N’Golo Kante having more and more injury issues, perhaps Chelsea should still look to bring in Rice.
Crystal Palace vs Chelsea
For now, Chelsea will have to cope without Rice for the remainder of 2021/22.
Their next outing is on Saturday against Crystal Palace.
Chelsea head into the Crystal Palace tie knowing that their hopes of securing the Premier League title this season are all but over.
The Blues do have a game in hand on current league leaders Manchester City. But even if they win that, Chelsea will still be 13 points behind Pep Guardiola’s men with just 13 games of the season left to play.
Instead, the Pensioners need to focus on ensuring that they do not get drawn into the battle for 4th place.