Declan Rice betrayed David Moyes with a horror show performance in the heart of West Ham United’s midfield at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday afternoon.
Moyes called on Rice to anchor the Hammers engine room alongside Tomas Soucek with Mark Noble fielded behind a two-man frontline of Sebastien Haller and Jarrod Bowen, after deciding to deploy promising full-back Ben Johnson on the left of a five-strong defence.
Brighton had arrived at the London Stadium just a point above the relegation zone while West Ham would have moved to within a point of ninth-placed Southampton with a win, yet were forced to settle for a point apiece after an abysmal first-half from the hosts.
West Ham improved following the break to overturn a 1-0 deficit after Neal Maupay broke the deadlock moments before half-time, having seen his initial shot ricochet off Rice and Angelo Ogbonna back into his path before driving the ball home past Lukasz Fabianski.
Rice helped to inspire the Irons’ improved form at the start of the second period with a teasing delivery for Haller, whose header was directed straight at Robert Sanchez on route to an 11th scoreless display of the league season for the Ivory Coast international.
His improved showing did not last long, however, with football.london’s Sam Inkersole criticising Rice later in the half after overhitting a poor attempted cross whilst West Ham chased a second equalising effort following Lewis Dunk restoring Brighton’s lead.
“Declan Rice hangs his head after a poor cross, miles overhit. He’s not been at the races today,” he noted.
Rice charged around the field at the London Stadium on Sunday, often without any end product, as he struggled to leave a positive impression on proceedings as the Hammers were forced to settle for a point after Soucek’s 82nd-minute equaliser.
The England international’s early second-half cross for Haller returned Rice’s sole key ball of the game, on a day he failed to direct his only shot on target and attempted a single dribble, per SofaScore.
Rice, who West Ham valued at £80m amid interest from Chelsea in the summer, further lost five of his eight ground duels for an overall success rate of 50% having won his two aerial contests, while losing possession 14 times.
He was dribbled past on two occasions as the 21-year-old laboured to a 50% tackle success rate, while offering no clearances and one interception.
West Ham would have expected a more telling contribution from the man who played his side’s second-most accurate passes (45), but instead were left relying on Soucek to save the day when the Croatia international met Cresswell’s delivery with a committed header eight minutes from time.