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West Ham could unleash perfect Rice partner in Lewis Orford

Although David Moyes may have fallen to another defeat in the Premier League with West Ham United, there is still a huge amount of confidence in his ability to continue leading this side forward.

Having vastly overperformed in recent years, and cruised through the European stages this campaign, the Scotsman has a lot of credit in the bank even if the Hammers do sit just two points from the relegation zone.

Having continued with his tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation, once again Tomas Soucek disappointed beside their captain Declan Rice.

His SofaScore rating of 6.8 denoted yet another underwhelming performance from the man who earned notoriety in his debut season for being a goal-scoring midfielder.

Having scored ten in his first full campaign in claret and blue, since then his performances have dwindled with just the two goal involvements throughout 2022/23 so far.

It could, therefore, be time for Moyes to look for his replacement, and in his academy, he arguably boasts a perfect one.

If this dismal season so far has shown anything, it’s that the 59-year-old is more than willing to give youth a chance. In their most recent clash with FCSB, he started four academy graduates.

Now, it must soon be the turn of Lewis Orford, who cannot stop scoring for the Irons’ U18s setup.

The 16-year-old already boasts four goals and three assists this season from just six league games, having featured both as a classic central midfielder and in a slightly deeper role.

The teenager also featured on the bench in the aforementioned European clash, offering him an experience few others of his age will have.

This is not his first impressive season though, as even last year he scored three and assisted eight as a 15-year-old.

With a maturity far beyond his years, his goal-scoring exploits paired with the solidity of another academy graduate in Rice could make for a perfectly balanced midfield once more.

Ranking in the top 6% for both interceptions and pass completion in his position across Europe’s top five leagues, the 23-year-old could be the key to unleashing Orford in the places where he can really do damage.

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Having also been included in the Guardian’s Next Generation list, they described him as a “playmaker” who has all the best parts of players like Rice, Michael Carrick and even Frank Lampard.

This youngster seems poised for a phenomenal career and is taking all the necessary steps to slowly get there. He could complement the current skipper perfectly in the future, and potentially end up taking over from him should he stick around long enough.

Article title: West Ham could unleash perfect Rice partner in Lewis Orford

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