After seeing SWP win the MOM for England against Israel on Saturday, Rio said: "At the moment Shaun is probably the most important player going forward in the Premier League.
"He is playing very well for his club and is bringing that onto the international scene as well. To get a goal was great for him and he was thorn in Israel's side for the whole game.
"But a lot of the lads who came in did well. Gareth Barry has been a creative player for a long time, in and around England squads for many years, and been playing very well in club football.
"Micah Richards has a fantastic potential. He is doing very well at the moment and it was great to see him get his first goal for England.
"I thought the biggest plus to come out of the game was Emile Heskey. He proved what a handful he can be. I couldn't count the number of chances he helped to create through the ball going through him.
"I was very pleased for him. He has been out in the wilderness for a long time. The stick he has got from a lot of quarters has not been just.
"He has broad shoulders. He didn't score but you saw what a talented footballer he can be and how effective he can be for us.
"Emile is another player to add to the mix of talented forwards we have got - Michael Owen, Crouchy (Peter Crouch), AJ (Andrew Johnson), (Jermain) Defoe, Wazza (Wayne Rooney). It is great for competition for places and that's what we need in this squad."