West Ham starlet Declan Rice was one of the standout performers against Everton on Sunday.
The Republic of Ireland international (who could well soon change his allegiance to England) was selected by Manuel Pellegrini to anchor the midfield at Goodison Park; a role he is becoming more and more familiar with.
After a torrid afternoon in the first game against Liverpool and missing out entirely against Bournemouth, he has been improving week on week.
And his display against the Toffees was his best of the season so far.
Rice was a commanding figure operating in front of the back four.
He showed excellent discipline and helped the Irons build from the back.
His gradual improvements are certainly timely now following some disappointing injury news concerning another first team star.
Wilshere crocked again
It came to light on Monday evening that Jack Wilshere underwent ankle surgery.
It’ll mean that the player must rest up before doing rehabilitation and overall he’s looking at around six weeks on the sidelines.
The club’s head of medical Richard Collinge said, as quoted by the club’s official website: “Jack underwent successful surgery in London on Monday morning for a minor ongoing ankle issue.
“The surgeon was happy with the procedure and all went as planned.
“We envisage he will only need a relatively short period of rest and will then start his rehabilitation. Jack is focused and determined to get back training and playing as soon as possible.”
No great loss as Rice continues to improve
Rice’s steady improvement at holding midfield arguably softens the blow of losing Wilshere.
Before his surgery, Wilshere had failed to make much of a significant impact in the West Ham engine room.
That was certainly reflected in the club’s points tally after four games.
Wilshere was absent on Sunday and the club put in their best performance of the season, with Rice standing out without the presence of the Englishman.
If Rice can maintain his good form over the next month or so, then Wilshere’s absence may not be felt at all.
Rice, Mark Noble and Pedro Obiang appeared to work well together as a midfield trio.
Perhaps Manuel Pellegrini has finally stumbled across his winning formula, of which Rice can become the key influence.