Monday night saw yet another victory for Declan Rice and West Ham United. They beat Leeds United 2-0, keeping their dreams of a top-four finish alive. Midfielder and captain Rice impressed again and has been instrumental to their good form this season.
The 22-year-old has performed so well, manager David Moyes has recently claimed that Rice is worth “far more than £100 million”. He also said that other players who have been involved in big-money transfers “could not lace his boots.” Whatever his true valuation may be his importance to this West Ham team cannot be underestimated. If the Hammers are to keep up their stellar form, they will need their captain to continue to perform.
Declan Rice Instrumental to West Ham’s Success
A £100 Million Player?
Moyes’ claim that Rice is worth far more than £100 million would have been laughable a few years ago. However, his development, especially in the last 12 months, has been exceptional. His defensive qualities in midfield are there for all to see. He is able to break up play and distribute the ball flawlessly. Rice can protect his back four better than almost any in the Premier League. He has struck a great partnership with Czech Republic international Tomáš Souček. Rice’s defensive capabilities, allows Souček to push further forward where he is able to score goals. This excellently balanced midfield has been the bedrock on which West Ham’s great form lies.
When you look at the current market, it is easy to see Moyes’ reasoning for his valuation of Rice. At just 22-years-old he captains his side, showing real leadership qualities. He is a full England international, and his mix of power, skill, and understanding of the game is extremely rare for a player so young. There is no doubt that in years to come, Rice will become one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. The question is where will he be playing? Moyes is hopeful that the club will not sell him, saying: “I’m looking forward to keeping Declan, I look forward to keeping all the boys and building a young team. If we could finish in Europe, in some sort of European position, I think it would be progress.” It’s clear the incentive of European football will be huge in keeping the likes of Declan Rice.
Where Will West Ham Finish?
With so much competition for European places, Declan Rice and his West Ham teammates still have a huge task ahead of them to finish in the top six. However, they have proven time and again that they deserve to be where they are this season. They have a great team with the perfect balance of youth and experience and a manager that knows what it takes to finish in the European places.
West Ham not being in a European cup competition could give them an advantage over their rivals. While the likes of Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and Liverpool will play midweeks if they continue to progress into the later stages of their respected tournaments, West Ham will not, meaning that they will have longer rests between games and will be able to solely focus on the league.
West Ham’s upcoming fixtures includes the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Leicester City. It’s a difficult few games for the Hammers but it’s also an opportunity to compete with the best and prove that they deserve to finish in the European places. If they continue to pick up points and compete with the country’s best, there is no reason that they cant qualify for the European places come May.