Trevor Twohig > It has long been my personal belief that Declan Rice will be the next England captain to lift the World Cup. People thought I was mad for saying this many moons ago, but now the possibility doesn’t seem so ridiculous.
No-one likes to see managers getting the boot, especially young English ones, but when Lampard made his Chelsea exit, there was a collective exhalation of relief across East London. Lampard and Jody Morris were keen on the transfer of Declan Rice to Chelsea, so much so that Ex alluded to the fact it may have contributed to Lampard’s downfall. Match this with Rice’s Chelsea allegiance, his father being a season ticket holder, his best mate playing in the centre of the park… the outlook was bleak for keeping Rice in East London.
Since then, West Ham’s resurgence under Moyes has been nothing short of spectacular, and one wonders how attractive other clubs look in the wake of the Hammers’ recent renaissance? The team is young, hungry and pulling together in the same direction; at present the sky seems to be the limit.
If West Ham can gain a Europa League spot, it will hopefully be enough to keep Rice in a claret and blue shirt, but sadly, I feel that it is off the field matters that will have the greatest impact on whether Declan stays or goes in the near future.
After the Tottenham win, (and just a gentle reminder that we have taken four points off them this season and are nine points ahead of them) David Moyes said this: “Declan is pushing me to improve the team, because I’m looking at him and saying, ‘You’re an England international, possibly future England captain, and you want me to get you good players.’ I think Declan will always be here as long as he thinks I’m going to try to do that.”
It could be perceived that David Moyes’ comments are a veiled hint towards our current owners. The issues with mis-management and underfunding of the playing squad has been documented with arguments forthcoming from both sides. That said, despite the league position and recent turnaround (thanks to the players and managing staff) the cracks are still very much there for all to see.
The lack of back-up for Antonio resulted in an ugly situation in the cup for young starlet, Mipo Odubeko. How he will be affected by being way off the pace and substituted off after being subbed on, remains to be seen.
It is fortuitous to say the least, that Soucek and Coufal have turned out the way they have. Had we been leaking goals down the right and still being forced to play Mark Noble for 90 minutes twice a week, would we be in the same league position?
The best analogy I have heard about West Ham’s current ownership, is that they like to put Fiat parts inside a Ferrari. Luckily, for now, the engine is purring and running well. But football is a fickle business that can change in a split-second. If we do fall away on the pitch, can the owners realistically afford to invest in the summer? Let’s suggest the unthinkable happens and the happy Hammers qualify for the Champions League. Will a war-chest be provided to take on PSG and Real Madrid next season? Or will we again be looking at Championship players who we hope and pray can make the step up?
Currently, Declan Rice’s attitude, spirit and endeavour typifies everything West Ham fans hold dear. He leads by example, reads the game like Bobby Moore and drives us forward and out of trouble when we need him. He is the glue holding the dressing room. For me, he is priceless.
The question of whether Rice stays, or has his head turned, lies solely with the owners of our great club. It is clear that Declan is happy and comfortable in his role. The team are flying and he is achieving more than his great potential.
The owners must ensure that they back up a brilliant season with sound and solid investment, not only in better players, but also in Declan himself, to ensure our greatest asset is here for many years to come.