WEST HAM midfielder Declan Rice stated a couple weeks ago that he is determined to take on more responsibility for club and country. A statement made on the back of an impressive performance against Belgium, as England ran out 2-1 winners in their Nations League encounter at Wembley in October.
Not only did the result against the world’s best ranked nation highlight England’s growth under Gareth Southgate, but a game which represented stark improvements in Declan Rice’s game over the past year.
His projected move to Chelsea this summer never materialised, but that hasn’t stopped the talented midfielder putting in performances that many of the West Ham faithful have come to expect of him. The 21-year-old has got his head down, worked hard and is reaping the rewards, as West Ham embark on an upturn in form under David Moyes in recent weeks.
West Ham are yet to taste defeat in the Premier League since their 2-1 loss to Arsenal mid-September, winning two and drawing two, accumulating points in games where you’d expect them to lose. Comfortably beating Wolverhampton Wanderers 4-0 and Leicester City 3-0 at the King Power as well as clawing back from 3 goals down to pick up a dramatic last-minute point at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
One man synonymous with West Ham’s form under David Moyes has of course been Declan Rice, and if there was ever any thought of him leaving in the near future, then that has been made even more difficult.
The England international has been an ever-present in the team, sitting alongside Tomas Soucek in the Hammers’ midfield, showing the kind of maturity and significant performance levels that has propelled him to become arguably the most talented young midfielder in the country.
Ever since his introduction into the team on the last game of the 2016/17 Premier League campaign, he’s been one of the topics of conversation within the camp, and that has indeed been shown throughout the past year. Not only is Declan Rice just your standard defensive midfielder, one who screens and protects the back four, but he’s added a much unique and more rounded qualities to his game. He’s now comfortable in receiving possession and distributing it in more dangerous areas as well as driving with the ball at his feet in order to drag his side out of trouble. Rice is indeed taking on more responsibility at West Ham.
The midfielder was imperious against Manchester City as he was also for England against Belgium, taking ownership in possession, fulfilling his defensive duties with aplomb as well as adding a unique input when going forward. He recorded against the Premier League runners up, 4 ball recoveries, 4 interceptions, 4/4 completed long passes, 3 out 3 tackles won and 2 100% successful take ons. All-action performance.
It’s almost safe to say that Declan Rice isn’t just a defensive midfielder, but over the past few months, his duties stretch beyond that. Declan Rice is now an all-rounded midfielder. If so, his price has just increased considerably.