David Moyes will surely be buzzing as West Ham United are only expected to be without Declan Rice for four to five weeks through injury.
That’s according to The Athletic’s David Ornstein, who has claimed that Rice will be fit for this summer’s European Championship and that he is pushing to return as soon as possible.
Ornstein has now delivered West Ham and England a huge boost by suggesting the initial fears were overplayed, and claiming that Rice will be available for Gareth Southgate this summer.
“Rice, we’re assured, will be fit in time,” he said on The Ornstein and Chapman Podcast.
“I know that he saw the six-week timeframe on being a little bit on the cautious side and was aiming to be back in four or five weeks max from this very small tear to the lateral collateral knee ligament in his right leg.”
Moyes will be buzzing to hear that Rice only sustained a very small tear to his knee ligaments and that he is expected to be available much sooner than first feared, though it naturally remains to be seen if he will feature again this season.
But a minimum four-week lay-off would see Rice return to training as West Ham enter the final month of the Premier League season, meaning he could yet still have a part to play in the London Stadium native’s final fixtures and push for Champions League qualification.
Rice was a key factor in West Ham establishing themselves in the conversation for a top-four finish before his injury, having proven to be – as Southgate describes – an “outstanding” player at recovering possession in the midfield area.
The England international had been able to protect the Hammers backline magnificently all season, and sparked the occasional attack with driven runs through the centre of the pitch.
Only Southampton centre-back Jan Bednarek (73) and Burnley midfielder Josh Brownhill (61) – who has been linked with the Irons – have registered a greater number of interceptions in the Premier League this term than Rice (58), per WhoScored.
Moyes was disappointed to have to lose that presence in his engine room when Rice’s injury was announced, and will be itching to unleash the 22-year-old again as soon as possible.
AND in other news, West Ham are weighing up a £21.5m swoop for a “great” 10-goal striker…