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‘I’m going to look back on these moments’

‘I’m going to look back on these moments’

Andrew Wright

Published 24/02/2024 at 20:06 GMT

Ahead of Arsenal’s game against Newcastle at the Emirates, midfielder Declan Rice admitted to TNT Sports that he is “enjoying the pressures” of the Premier League title race. The Gunners were pipped last season by Manchester City but have a chance to go one better this campaign and lift a first domestic crown since 2003/04. Arsenal v Newcastle is live on TNT Sports and discovery+.

Declan Rice of Arsenal speaks to the media prior to the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Newcastle United at Emirates Stadium on February 24, 2024 in London, England.

Image credit: Getty Images

Declan Rice says he is “enjoying the pressure” of fighting for the Premier League title in his first season with Arsenal.

The midfielder joined The Gunners from West Ham last summer in a deal worth £105 million and has made an immediate impact in the heart of midfield as Mikel Arteta’s side look to claim a first domestic crown in two decades.

Arsenal led the way for 248 days last season before being pipped by Manchester City and the race looks set to come down to the wire once again.

Asked if he enjoyed the pressure ahead of Arsenal’s clash with Newcastle, Rice told TNT Sports: “It’s good, you relish it. I think you enjoy the pressures of having to win football matches.

“When my career ends I’m going to look back on these moments and wish I had played in more title races.

“We know tonight [v Newcastle] is a big one. We know we’re ready. We feel strong we feel fit and we’re ready to go.”

Arsenal will no doubt be motivated by the late 1-0 defeat to Porto on Wednesday night in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League last-16 tie.

Arteta’s side looked set to bring a goalless draw back to the Emirates until Wenderson Galeno’s stunner in the 94th minute put them on the back foot.

Rice admitted he and his team-mates had no time to lick their wounds with the games coming thick and fast and spoke of the difference between competing domestically and in Europe’s elite club competition.

“When it’s the knockout rounds of the Champions League, you never know what to expect,” Rice added.

“In the Premier League you’re going up against 20 teams whereas the knockout rounds you know you’re going up against the team you get drawn against and you get two games to play them so it’s always going to be really difficult and challenging.

“We found out on Wednesday night and we’ve got another important one here in a few weeks.”

While Bukayo Saka, Martin Odeegard and Gabriel Martinelli often receive the plaudits going forward in what has been a devastating Arsenal attack of late, Rice also acknowledged the key contribution made by centre-backs William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes.

“I can’t speak highly enough of them,” Rice continued. “I think Saliba is unbelievable, obviously heard about all the talk of him before I came here and the one who’s really surprised me is actually Gabriel.

“He’s so aggressive, so strong, really wants it all the time, never loses a duel.

“When you’ve got two centre-backs out there who want to say aggressive it really helps and gives you confidence.”

TNT Sports presents the premium live sports rights previously carried by BT Sport including the Premier League, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Conference League, Gallagher Premiership Rugby, Investec Champions Cup, EPCR Challenge Cup, MotoGP, Cricket, UFC, Boxing and WWE. The streaming home for TNT Sports in the UK is discovery+, where fans can enjoy a subscription that includes TNT Sports, Eurosport and entertainment in one destination. You can also watch TNT Sports through BT, EE, Sky, and Virgin Media.

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