Who is better, Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff or West Ham’s Declan Rice?

That’s the fierce debate that has taken over Twitter this week, thanks to comments made by BT pundit Martin Keown.

Newcastle defeated an in-form Burnley side 2-0 at St James’ Park on Tuesday evening, with Sean Longstaff scoring his first ever Premier League goal.

It was a perfect night for the local lad, as he put in yet another commanding midfield performance.

(Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Keown was covering the match for BT Sport and was very high in his praise for the 21 year old Toon star.

Speaking of whether Longstaff could fulfil a role for England, Keown stated: “Rice that plays for West Ham, we have often talked about him,

“I think this fella is maybe better. He’s technically better.”

The comment immediately sparked backlash from some West Ham fans on Twitter. But his words also received a lot of support from Newcastle fans.

Supporters from each club seem convinced their own player is more talented, while questioning the hype the other has been getting.

But is a comparison between the two even necessary?

Twitter Debate: Longstaff or Rice?

Debate is unhealthy for the pair’s England prospects

Comparing Rice and Longstaff is pointless, because the two play completely different styles of football.

While Longstaff is a tidy and technical midfield passer, Rice is a combative engine with precise tackling.

Rice has been an outstanding presence for The Hammers this season, and looks to be a very talented defensive midfielder in the making.

His tackling, recovery and interception stats are phenomenal for a 20 year old and he is already being touted as the future of the club.

His displays were enough to convince Gareth Southgate he may have the makings of an England star, despite Rice already having caps for Republic of Ireland.

(Photo credit LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

He hit the headlines after switching allegiances to the Three Lions this month, and although nothing is guaranteed, he looks likely to get an England call-up soon.

Longstaff meanwhile has had a much quicker and quieter rise to the top.

While Rice already has 60 appearances for The Hammers, Longstaff has made just 11 for the Toon.

But in those 11 matches, the Newcastle youngster has quickly become an integral member of Rafa Benitez’s side.

He too is being touted with an England call-up, however it’s reportedly the u21’s side that are most interested.

Both could go on to be the future of the Three Lions midfield – why must we decide which is better?

Arguments such as these potentially helped destroy relationships between Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes.

They were a golden generation of English midfielders but were always made to feel like enemies because of their club allegiances.

Naturally, their chemistry suffered, and one was always made to play in an unfamiliar role.

If Rice and Longstaff really are England’s future, there is no need to make them unnecessary rivals by 21.

Upcoming West Ham game

Unnofrtunately this argument couldn’t have come at a worse time for both clubs.

Newcastle now face West Ham on Saturday, meaning the debate is just days away from coming to a head.

The match will probably see a fair amount of abuse thrown at one player depending on the result.

But supporters must try and be fair – would a loss for either club rest purely on the shoulders of these young men?

Of course not, but there is also the potential that one of them could win the game for their side.

Whatever happens, hopefully both of their talents will be on display.

(Photo by Ian Horrocks/Getty Images)

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