In a season of poor performances, Delcan Rice was one of the few bright lights for West Ham. Another product of the West Ham academy Rice is set to be a key player for Manuel Pellegrini this season.
A player who has labelled John Terry as his hero, Rice made his league debut against Burnley at the end of the 2016/17 season and then became a regular first-team player last year.
Within a season where West Ham struggled and ended up finishing 15th, Rice managed to play 26 games in the league, showing his ability to play at the heart of defence but also play as a defensive midfielder. It was in midfield that Rice started against Liverpool this season and it was a baptism of fire for the 19-year-old.
Facing a blistering midfield, Rice struggled to get to grips with the pace of the game. However, the youngster wasn’t helped by his midfield partner, Mark Noble who had a poor game. Young players need their experienced pros to help them through a game but against Liverpool, Noble didn’t offer that.
Since then, Rice has not featured in West Ham’s other two games but under a team that is adapting to Pellegrini’s style of play, he will have a role to play later on.
With Mark Noble embarking on the backend of his career, and with Pedro Obiang and Carlos Sanchez as the other two remaining holding midfielders in the team, Pellegrini will surely need him later on in the season.
Rice’s ability to play in the middle of defence and in midfield is going to be vital for West Ham as they go through the season. Skilled with the ball at his feet, Rice has the ability to pick a pass from deep but also has the ability to break through the lines with the ball at his feet.
His greatest strength, however, is his ability to break up play and his ability to read the game. At this time in his career, Pellegrini may have to partner him with someone more skilled to be able to play from midfield but the fact still remains that he has to keep Rice around the first-team this season and keep faith in him.
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