English midfielder Declan Rice has openly acknowledged that he is still adapting to Arsenal’s playing style and requires time to fully integrate into Mikel Arteta’s team dynamics.
The 24-year-old midfielder made a high-profile move to Arsenal during this summer transfer window. The Gunners spared no expense, splashing out a staggering £105 million (equivalent to over Rp 2 trillion) to secure Rice from his former club, West Ham.
As reported by Outside, this record-breaking transfer fee has made Rice the most expensive English player, surpassing the previous record held by Jack Grealish when Manchester City acquired him from Aston Villa for £100 million.
With such an impressive price tag attached to his name, enormous expectations naturally follow Rice’s career at Arsenal. The club and its fans anticipate that his addition will elevate the performance of Arsenal’s midfield significantly.
Rice has already joined Mikel Arteta’s squad for their pre-season preparations in the United States. During this period, he has participated in matches against the MLS Allstar team and Manchester United, wearing the Gunners’ jersey.
Despite his high potential and impressive pedigree, Rice humbly admits that he still needs time to familiarize himself with Arsenal’s distinctive playing style. He recognizes that his role at Arsenal differs from the one he played at West Ham. Nevertheless, Rice is determined to diligently learn and master Arsenal’s tactical approach, in order to perform the role that Arteta envisions for him.
Speaking to Telegraph, Rice expressed, “I feel like my positioning isn’t quite on the same page, not coming towards the ball too early, staying away from it, and creating space for others. There’s so much to understand.”
He further added, “I genuinely feel that in the next football match I watch, I will view it from a completely different perspective. Usually, I watch football for pure enjoyment. Now, I might look at the tactical aspects.”
Rice realizes that becoming acclimated to Arsenal’s style will not happen overnight. He emphasizes that the learning process will take time. However, he remains optimistic that with dedication and incorporation of Arteta’s instructions into his game, combined with his innate qualities, he will be able to make tremendous strides in his performance.
“I won’t learn it all in two weeks. It will take time, but once I grasp it, and once I integrate the things he [Arteta] desires into my gameplay, alongside my existing abilities, I hope to witness a tenfold improvement,” Rice concluded with determination.