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Keanes brutal assessment of sloppy Declan Rice as he says Man Utd transfer target has played his way out the team

ROY KEANE has brutally highlighted the areas where “sloppy” Declan Rice absolutely must improve.

Manchester United legend Keane worked alongside Rice in the Ireland set up before the Old Trafford transfer target’s controversial international switch to England.

Man Utd bosses may think twice about going for Rice after Keane’s withering assessment of his talents

England thrashed Kosovo 4-0 in their European Championship qualifier last night – which West Ham star Rice started.

The midfielder is one of eight men Old Trafford boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to buy.

But SunSport’s verdict on his performance in Pristina was that he is not yet looking like the man to fill that void in deep midfield.

United chiefs were said to be ready to back Solskjaer by pushing to sign 20-year-old Rice, valued at 80million.

But they may have second thoughts after Keane’s withering assessment.

The ITV pundit said: “Where he needs to improve? There are plenty of aspects when you think about him.

“Over the last few months, he’s had a lot of praise. I’ve looked at him pretty closely. I’ve worked with him, obviously when he was in the Irish squad.

“Where he needs to improve? Where do you want me to start? His positional play. I don’t think he has been consistent enough. He doesn’t stay with runners. He’s sloppy in possession. I can go on.

“He’s one of these players, I think a couple of months ago everyone was enjoying him and loving him.

“But he’s one of these players who has played his way out of the team because he’s not been consistent at West Ham.

“He’s got another opportunity and I think it is a position in the England team where Gareth (Southgate) is obviously not sure who’s going to do that job in there.

“He obviously plays regularly for West Ham so it’s an opportunity for him but he’s got to take it.”

Unitedfailed to sign a midfielder in the summer after losing Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini.

Instead they splashed 80m on centre-back Harry Maguire and went for more attacking options in Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.

United are reportedly looking to sign Rice next summer rather than in January.

But Rice has spoken about his commitment to West Ham.

He said: “I signed a five year contract with West Ham last year, which will keep me at the club till I’m 24, and for me this is the best place to be right now.

“I am playing for a manager who has given me my chance and played me week in, week out.

Rice is still only 20 but needs to heed Keane’s warning

“I’m improving every week and although I see all this speculation, I don’t really think about it too much.

“It’s all talk until something happens – and nothing has – so I’m just focused on West Ham, doing my best and making fans happy.”

Reports last month claimed United were lining up a180m double swoop for Rice and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly.