‘Waxing lyrical’… Rio Ferdinand says Declan Rice was raving about Arsenal teammate when they met recently

Rio Ferdinand has named the Arsenal player Declan Rice was raving about when he spoke to the Gunners midfielder recently.

Arsenal may not have won at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, but Mikel Arteta’s side managed to make a statement by drawing with Manchester City. It is a result which leaves all three sides in contention for the Premier League title.

From an attacking point of view, it was a game with little quality. Gabriel Jesus was one of those who came in for criticism.

But that should take nothing away from the quality of the defensive displays on show.

William Saliba was lauded for his performance up against Erling Haaland. But he was not the only Arsenal defender to produce a colossal performance.

Rio Ferdinand says Declan Rice was raving about Arsenal teammate

Gabriel Magalhaes seemed to absolutely relish the battle with Haaland, with the pair continuing to lock horns after the final whistle.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Declan Rice has previously spoken about not realising about how good Gabriel really is. And it seems that he remains a massive admirer of the 26-year-ol

Speaking on Vibe with Five, Rio Ferdinand suggested that the centre-back was the player Rice was lauding when they recently met up with each other.

“When I spoke to Declan the other day, he was waxing lyrical, raving about Gabriel, who I criticised last season, and I stand by that and rightly so last season,” he said.

“But he seems to have learned. He’s matured, and he’s one of the most aggressive, but also controlled and composed centre-halves in the league. And his partnership with Saliba, if Saliba was fit last season, they might have won the league.”

Brazilian has played key role in Gunners’ progress under Mikel Arteta

It does appear that Gabriel is finally getting a lot of the credit which eluded him during the first couple of years at the Emirates.

The partnership with Saliba appears to be getting stronger and stronger. And neither player should be at their peak just yet.

Arsenal boast the best defensive record in the Premier League this season. And Gabriel has been the constant in the side from when Arteta elevated them from mediocrity.

Clearly, his teammates are under absolutely no illusions about just how good Gabriel truly i

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