Tim Sherwood has told Optus Sport’s The Analysis Show that he has performed a u-turn in his opinion of West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, as the England midfielder continues to shine in West Ham’s pursuit of Europe.
Rice, 22, missed his first Premier League game of the season on Monday night as West Ham held on to three points away from home against Wolves – winning 3-2. The midfielder has been ruled out with a knee injury.
Though not long-term, Rice is expected to be sidelined for four weeks and the Hammers will need him back as soon as possible – as will England. His importance for both club and country cannot be understated, he is excelling.
Indeed, even ex-Tottenham manager Sherwood has changed his opinion of Rice – admitting that he initially had reservations about the midfielder but those have since changed as he continues to shine in claret and blue.
“His injury is going to be the worry,” Sherwood said. “Declan Rice has grown on me beyond belief. I wasn’t sure about him as an international footballer, but now I am absolutely convinced about him as an international footballer.
“He’s so important to what they do. They coped without him last night, can they cope with him when the pressure is on between now and the end of the season – eight games? They’ll miss him, They need him back as soon as possible.”
TBR’s view – Rice a POTS contender if West Ham finish top four
Like David Moyes is already a contender to win the Manager of the Season award, even if the Hammers fail to finish in the top four and only achieve a top-six spot, Rice should be in with a shout of earning the top player award.
Ruben Dias, Kevin De Bruyne, Bruno Fernandes, Harry Kane and plenty more are within a shout – but surely, for importance to his club, Rice is right in the mix and perhaps, just as influential, even if he is not scoring goals.