Former England striker Kevin Phillips has insisted that it would be ‘crazy’ for West Ham United to let Declan Rice leave the club in the summer transfer window.
The 21-year-old has been a shining light in an otherwise dismal campaign for the Hammers, producing strong performances on a regular basis and further enhancing his growing reputation. He has certainly become a key player for the club, highlighted by the fact that he has played every single minute of their Premier League campaign so far in the heart of their midfield (Transfermarkt).
Naturally, he has been linked with a move elsewhere, with Manchester United among those thought to be keen on the seven-time England international and reportedly even sending scouts to watch him in January (Daily Mail).
David Moyes recently admitted that the club may well sell Rice in the summer (The Guardian), but Phillips believes that they should not allow the defensive midfielder to leave if they avoid relegation to the Championship. Speaking about Rice potentially leaving West Ham in the summer, Phillips told Football Insider: “It’s a difficult one. How do you view it? If you’re the owners do you cash in and get the money?
“Or, if you’re serious about progressing and wanting to finish in that top six, which West Ham certainly are capable of – they’re a big club, big stadium – then the only way you do that is by keeping your best players.
“Declan Rice has emerged as a fantastic midfielder. He hasn’t got loads of experience, but he’s gaining it week in and week out. He’s had a dip in form of late, which has coincided with West Ham’s loss of form, and it’s highlighted how important he is more.
“From my point of view, Mark Noble isn’t getting any younger, I think you’d be crazy to let Rice go. I think if they got relegated he would certainly want to move on because he would want to stay in the Premier League. If they don’t get relegated, you’ve got to keep hold of the player.”
Phillips definitely has a point here. Rice is a vital player for West Ham United and, presuming they are still a Premier League club next season, they should do everything they can to keep him at the London Stadium.
Will West Ham go into free-fall if they get relegated?
With Mark Noble now 32 and entering the twilight of his career, the Hammers should be looking to build their midfield around the young England international, who has been a stalwart in the team this season and has recorded some very impressive performance metrics. On average, he wins 4.5 ground duels, 3.1 tackles and two interceptions per game. He has also shown composure on the ball, averaging an 87% pass completion rate (SofaScore).
He could be a lynchpin in the team for years to come and the east London outfit must do all they can to keep hold of him in the summer. If he goes, it would likely weaken them significantly.
West Ham fans, how vital is it to keep hold of Declan Rice in the summer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…
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