David Moyes says Declan Rice is getting closer to fitness as West Ham United prepare for Sunday’s Premier League visit of Everton.
The Hammers midfielder has been out of action since suffering a knee injury on international duty with England at the end of March, but has been stepping up his work on the training pitches this week.
While the boss is encouraged by his continued progress, he remained tight-lipped over whether Rice would be available for selection against the Toffees, saying his decisions will be made closer to the contest.
“We’re obviously getting closer to getting Declan back, because we’re another week down the line and we’re hoping that we can have him available,” Moyes said.
“He’s back on the grass and closing in on it. Undoubtedly he’s a big miss for us and we’ll try to get him back as quickly as we can.
“He’s so important for us and we need to get him back as soon as we can. He can make the difference in the games and we have a big game coming up this weekend for a starter.
“We’ve got a few people back on the grass, back training. We’ve got another day before we get to game time and we’re hoping we can get them back, but I wouldn’t put any timescales on it exactly for when I think it’ll happen.”
Aaron Cresswell and Michail Antonio returned from their hamstring injuries in Monday’s 2-1 win at Burnley and the boss is especially happy to have an increased number of options at his disposal at the sharp end of the pitch.
“We always felt that we had players and we’re starting to get a few of them back to fitness and we're starting to have a few more options than we had,” he continued.
“It was good that we got Saïd into the position to contribute the way he did on Monday night, while Jarrod Bowen has been scoring the goals – he scored three in five prior to that game.
“We need to keep the options and the flexibility of the front players going as much as we can – I want to be able to rotate them at times and I want to try to make the right decisions for each game. Thankfully it worked the other night and we got a good result.”