Declan Rice’s Man of the Match performances for England over the March international break would have come as no surprise to any West Ham United supporter.
The Hammers midfielder took his impressive club form to the international stage, featuring as the stand-out player as the Three Lions defeated Albania and Poland to take firm control of their FIFA World Cup qualifying group for next year’s finals in Qatar.
Now his attentions switch to West Ham’s run-in to the 2020/21 campaign, with the carrot of a top-six finish in his team’s sights.
Hammers boss David Moyes spoke of Rice’s influence at his pre-match press conference as his team prepare to take on Wolverhampton Wanderers on Easter Monday, saying that the 22-year-old continues to show, week-on-week, what an important player he is.
Moyes has seen the level of the whole team grow over that time too, and is backing Rice and his teammates to maintain that progress.
“My job is to keep West Ham at this level,” he said. ”Declan’s improvement I would hope he would look at it as the West Ham team, not just him on his own. We’ve added other players to try and help Declan improve and work with him. We’ve given him a great platform to show exactly what he is.
“In most of the games he’s been captain of the team and the club, so he’s had a real opportunity to step up. When he came into the England set-up over the past couple of weeks he’s shown exactly what he’s been doing all season.
“Maybe it took until the last couple of England games for people [elsewhere] to realise exactly what Declan’s been, but let’s be fair, he’s still young, he’s still going to make mistakes and not play well in every game, but he’s done a great job for us this season. He’s been terrific.”