Frank McAvennie has exclusively told Football FanCast that Declan Rice’s knee injury is a “massive blow” to West Ham’s chances of finishing in the European places.
The Hammers midfielder has been ever-present in the Premier League this term, and hasn’t missed a single minute of league action in the previous two seasons.
But Rice, whose recently taken the West Ham armband from club captain Mark Noble, will miss their trip to Wolves tonight and is expected to be sidelined for around four to six weeks following a knee problem sustained in England’s World Cup qualifier against Poland last Wednesday.
Victory for the David Moyes’ team a Molineux will be enough to see them leapfrog Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea and climb back into the fourth-place for the first time since early-March.
But the Hammers will have to do it without their leader and one of their most consistent performers – with Noble in line to make just his second Premier League start since January.
And McAvennie told Football FanCast that whilst Noble has been a great servant to West Ham over the years, Rice is simply irreplaceable:
“The shock news coming out of West Ham is that Rice is going be out for up to six weeks, which will be a massive blow for West Ham, especially in their hunt for European places.
“It’s a terrible shame for the boy, who’s been raising his game week in week out. I’d be annoyed, no disrespect to Noble who’s been a wonderful player and servant to West Ham, but he looks like the automatic choice.
“But when Nobes plays, then tend to defend a awful lot more. They don’t have that energy that Soucek and Rice bring in the midfield, no disrespect to Nobes.”