Declan Rice claims Arsenal centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes has pleasantly surprised him with his tenacity.

The central defender has been one of Arsenal’s best performers both at the back and in front of goal.

The Brazilian defender forced the opener, which was given as an own goal by Sven Botman, in Saturday night’s big win over Newcastle, and while defensive partner William Saliba gets most of the attention, Rice believes Gabriel has been an unsung hero for Mikel Arteta’s title-chasing team.

“I think Saliba is unbelievable,” Rice said. “I obviously heard all the talk about him before I came here. But the one who’s really surprised me is actually Gabriel. He’s so aggressive, so strong.”

“He really wants it all the time, never loses a duel. When you’ve got two centre-backs like that who want it, play aggressively, it really helps and gives you confidence.”

The 26-year-old has four goals this season in 22 league starts for the Gunners who are chasing the Premier League title.

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