The last few days may have been ones to forget for young West Ham defender Declan Rice after his error cost his side dearly at the Emirates, but things could be on the up as reports indicate that the club are set to offer the 19-year-old a new contract to commit his future to the club.
The London Evening Standard say that bosses are preparing a new offer to take his deal beyond his existing contract, signed in March 2017, which has only two years left to run.
The Ireland international began the season well under Slaven Bilic, usually playing in a holding midfield role, but has become a staple in the side in his new role in a three man defence.
Whether his long-term future lies in central defence or in midfield could depend upon who takes up the seat in the Hammers’ dugout next season, but it is clear that Rice has huge potential.
The youngster is a strong tackler who isn’t afraid to get stuck in and reads the game well, particularly for a player with so little experience, and has justified his place in the Irons team of late.
With such an ageing squad being built around players past their best like Pablo Zabaleta and Patrice Evra, particularly so in defence, Rice’s youth adds a long-term aspect to the planning and represents a player finally making the breakthrough where the likes of Reece Oxford and Reece Burke have struggled.
Another factor worth taking into consideration, and Rice’s representatives will likely have in mind when negotiating his new wage, will be that veteran James Collins’ contract is up this summer, and Rice could be a long-term replacement who is ready to step up as of now.