Real quality players in midtable sides often stands out far more than their top-half counterparts, for the simple fact they are the usually the ones carrying the team, and West Ham United is no different.
It certainly has not been the greatest of seasons for the Hammers, who are currently in a period of transition following the unrest of the previous three years.
The fans very publicly criticised the club’s owners last season, and whether we agree with their methods or not, they were successful.
The boardroom invested and, for the most part, invested well.
Former Manchester City boss and Premier League winner Manuel Pellegrini was recruited to head the team, a far better candidate than David Moyes, we are sure you will agree, and the transfer record was broken on Felipe Anderson, who has done well in his debut season.
But more could definitely be done.
We mentioned Felipe Anderson before, and for some, he would be considered West Ham’s ‘star’ player, but for us, it has got to be Declan Rice.
Introducing Rice to the senior squad was one of the few things David Moyes got right during his tenure at the club and we have got to say his successor, Manuel Pellegrini, has hugely benefitted from it.
The 20-year-old really came of age this year in the defensive midfield role, shining above any other player in the team as the most influential.
It is the consistency of his play that really gets us. Time and time again we have seen him orchestrating play in the central role; simple, safe football, with a greater plan in mind.
He knows his strengths and he has played to them.
The high-profile battle between England and Ireland to secure international services really is a testament to how good he is.