West Ham United have been given a huge boost ahead of the weekend as they look to bolster their European claims…
What’s the latest?
David Moyes has been without several of his key players in recent matches, with many absent through injury.
However, ahead of their crucial Premier League encounter with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday night, the 58-year-old has been handed some positive signs of encouragement.
Should Rice start vs Brighton?
The ever-reliable ExWHUemployee told supporters on Twitter that Declan Rice was finally in line to feature, having picked up a knee injury during England duty at the end of March. He has missed their last six games, in which the Hammers have tasted defeat three times.
Ex revealed that the 22-year-old “should play against Brighton” in response to a question from one fan asking for an update.
This will be massive for West Ham, especially if Rice is able to start the game.
After Liverpool’s win over Manchester United on Thursday night, the east Londoners slipped down to sixth in the table. They are now six points adrift of fourth and are only two points ahead of Spurs, meaning they must win their remaining three games to guarantee a place in Europe.
The squad have struggled for consistency as of late and that’s hardly a coincidence with Rice on the sidelines as he is a crucial part of Moyes’ starting XI.
Indeed, he currently ranks fourth for average WhoScored rating (7.02) among the Irons’ squad for the season so far. whilst he tops the charts of interceptions (two per game) and isn’t far behind for tackles either (1.9 per game).
It’s his commanding presence in front of the backline which allows the likes of Jesse Lingard and Michail Antonio to run amok further up the pitch. In his absence, the more attack-minded Manuel Lanzini has had to fill in but it’s just not the same, with the Argentine averaging only 0.5 tackles and 0.4 interceptions per game.
Having Rice back out on the pitch should come as a massive boost to the Hammers’ chances of picking up a result at the Amex Stadium on Saturday, and that will surely have Moyes absolutely buzzing heading into kick-off.