Declan Rice admits he’s been ‘really surprised’ by Gabriel Magalhaes since joining Arsenal.

Rice made the move to the Gunners last summer in a £105 million deal from West Ham and has slotted in seamlessly into Arsenal’s midfield.

But the England international recognises that his own acclimatisation has been helped by the performances of Arsenal’s first-choice centre-backs William Saliba and Gabriel. And Rice says the aggression and mentality shown by Gabriel has taken him by surprise.

When asked about Saliba and Gabriel in the build-up to Arsenal‘s 4-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday, Rice told TNT Sports: ‘I can’t speak highly enough of them, I’m not going to sit here and lie.

‘I think Saliba is unbelievable, obviously heard about all the talk of him before I come 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 like that who want it, play aggressive, it really helps and gives you confidence.’

Rice also insisted that he is enjoying the pressure of Arsenal’s Premier League title race.

‘It’s good, you relish it. I think you enjoy the pressures of having to win football matches,’ Rice said.

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