West Ham United have been handed an encouraging boost ahead of their return to Premier League action this weekend…
The Irons head to the Midlands to face Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux on Saturday afternoon following the final international break of the year and they can expect to travel with vice-captain Declan Rice, who has shaken off illness.
That’s according to Irons insiders Claret and Hugh, who delivered a fresh update on the 22-year-old’s situation after he withdrew from England duty.
Rice was not involved in either of the Three Lions’ back-to-back wins over Albania and San Marino as Gareth Southgate’s squad qualified for the 2022 World Cup.
A source has told the website that he is now fit and ready to play this weekend in what has to be considered a huge boost to manager David Moyes and the squad.
There would have been some cause for concern as a Rice-less Hammers side would be a worrying prospect considering they have achieved so much with him leading the side in the Premier League this season.
Indeed, the east London outfit sit third in the standings after 11 matches, above the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Spurs.
Rice has been a standout performer, averaging the highest WhoScored rating (7.46) of anyone in the squad. He leads the way for interceptions (1.9) and average number of passes (58.4) per game, proving that much of the Irons’ play runs through him and he’s a rock-solid option to protect the backline.
He isn’t too far behind for tackles either, managing 2.7 per game, which is only bettered by Ben Johnson (three), who has played in much fewer matches.
Earlier in the season, Moyes emphasised just how crucial the academy graduate is after he played a starring role in the win and clean sheet against former club, Everton.
“It would be hard to say just how good Declan Rice was today. For me, he was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch. He did the dirty bits in the game when he had to do so but had a great air of control on the ball and poise,” he told reporters, (via Sky Sports).
Moyes will, therefore, be absolutely delighted to have his talisman available for selection on Saturday. He will surely continue his run in the starting XI.