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Pundit’s Choice: Declan Rice

Pundit’s Choice: Declan Rice - Pundits Choice

West Ham supporters have been pretty upbeat in recent times after seeing their side back up their first Premier League win last weekend with a hard-fought draw on Sunday.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men beat Everton 3-1 at Goodison Park on September 16 to record their opening victory of the league campaign at their fifth attempt, and as such went into their clash with London rivals Chelsea on Sunday full of confidence. And the Hammers produced a battling display to earn a 0-0 draw from their meeting with Maurizio Sarri’s Blues, thus ending the 2017 league champions’ 100% start to the new season.

Thus, there have been many satisfied West Ham fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from Daily Mail columnist Jamie Redknapp, in which he delivers a worrying verdict on Hammers youngster Declan Rice.

The 19-year-old has been a star in the West Ham first team in recent times and was again magnificent against Chelsea on Sunday, prompting Redknapp to suggest that ‘a lot of clubs will be sniffing around’ him.

And while Hammers fans are unlikely to be overly thrilled with what the ex-midfielder has had to say, he is absolutely spot on as Rice appears to have all the ingredients to go to the very top of the game.

The youngster actually began his youth career at Chelsea before joining West Ham back in 2014, for whom he then made his way up through the ranks to eventually earn his senior debut for the club back in May 2017, coming on as a late substitute in their 2-1 win at Burnley on the final day of the 2016/17 season.

And the versatile youngster has since gone from strength to strength at the London Stadium in appearing a further 35 times for the Hammers, 26 of which coming in the Premier League last season as he slowly but surely became a regular feature for the East London club, be it at centre back or indeed in a defensive-minded midfield role.

And in appearing in all but one of their Premier League games in 2018 prior to this term, it was clear that Rice was likely to have a key part to play this time round, and it’s no coincidence that since he has returned to the side in the last two games, Pellegrini’s men have improved greatly.

The 19-year-old was excellent in helping the Hammers dominate the midfield against Everton last week, thus providing the front men with a platform from which to perform, while the Republic of Ireland international then produced an equally-impressive effort in thwarting Chelsea’s advances through the middle on Sunday – he has shown a maturity beyond his years.

And with immense versatility in being able to play at the back or indeed in midfield, alongside the temperament to produce the goods on the big stage, having played well on Sunday and indeed against Tottenham at Wembley last season in the Carabao Cup, it’s clear that the 19-year-old has a very bright future ahead of him.

So while the thought of Rice leaving the London Stadium is not one West Ham fans will want to entertain, he has shown enough already in his young career to suggest that he could go very far in the game, which is likely to be of interest to some of the top sides in the country.

Thus, Redknapp’s worrying verdict that clubs will be ‘sniffing around’ the youngster is absolutely spot on.

West Ham fans… what do you think? Let us know!

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Article title: Pundit’s Choice: Declan Rice

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