David Moyes thinks Declan Rice is up there with Europe’s best midfielders and says he wants to build his West Ham squad around England international
England international Rice enjoyed another good season in the wake of his Euro 2020 success and is leading West Ham’s bid for a Champions League spot.
But Hammers boss Moyes insists he’s not worried about losing his star at one of Europe’s elite clubs, despite comparing him with the continent’s best.
“There aren’t many better ones,” he said. “I think if you break Declan, you might say, ‘Well OK, I want you to get even better in your step.’
“So you can watch Frenkie De Jong or you can watch Jorginho. You could watch people who are really, very neat soccer players.
“But then if you look at the other side of the game, Declan is as good as anyone else at retrieving the ball and speed around the pitch. I really can’t think of many other midfield players like Declan in that mold really.
“Rodri is slightly different in the way he plays differently. But Declan is a bit well-rounded, and he certainly can do different things and is starting to add goals to his game.
“There probably isn’t much better, but I think there are aspects of Declan’s game that he can improve. We want him to get better in so many things, but it has been a revelation for us this season.”
Rice will make his 150th Premier League appearance for West Ham at Crystal Palace on New Year’s Day, and Moyes sees no reason why he can’t hit 200 and above in burgundy and blue.
“Well, Declan has a long contract here, with a long contract. So from that point of view we don’t have a big panic about it,” he added.
“We will keep Declan as long as possible, we are not going to sell it. If we ever have to, I have already said many, many times what it would be: shoot the moon.
“Overall he did a great job. I hope he continues to lead the team and I hope we will continue to add good players to play with and around Declan.
“My job is to continue to build the club and raise this level and have Declan players around him who are of a similar level and able to play at a really high level.”
Crystal Palace vs West Ham Team News
Crystal Palace they are waiting for the results of routine PCR tests, but are ready to have Joachim Andersen ready to visit West Ham on New Year’s Day.
The Danish defender was withdrawn at the end of Tuesday’s win against Norwich, but assistant Osian Roberts revealed that the center-back was fine having only recently returned from a hamstring injury.
Wilfried Zaha is also expected to play after the disqualification, but James McArthur (hamstring) is still out while uncertainty remains about Nathaniel Clyne, Conor Gallagher, Michael Olise and Ebere Eze, who missed the last game in the speeches of members without name of the team that contracted Covid -19.
West Ham can welcome Declan Rice back from suspension.
Pablo Fornals also missed the 4-1 win at Watford due to Covid, but boss David Moyes has not reported any new cases.
Defenders Aaron Cresswell, Kurt Zouma and Angelo Ogbonna are still injured.
How to follow
Crystal Palace vs West Ham is live Sky Sport Premier League from 17:00; kick-off 17:30. Sky Sports Customers can watch game clips in the match blog live on Sky Sports website and app. The highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sport Soccer YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.
● Crystal Palace have only won two of their last 13 Premier League games against West Ham (6N L5), both of which will come in the 2019-20 season.
● West Ham have won four of their last seven Premier League away games against Crystal Palace (P2 S1). The Hammers have scored in all seven of these visits, but have also suffered at least once in six of them.
● Both sides have scored in each of the last nine Premier League games between Crystal Palace and West Ham; only three games have seen longer such runs in the competition: Fulham-Man City (15), Newcastle-Wolves (13) and Arsenal-Chelsea (11). The team that scored first did not win any of these nine meetings between Eagles and Hammers (D5 L4).
● West Ham have only won one of their last nine away London derbies in the Premier League (D2 L6), although the win came at Crystal Palace last season (3-2).
● Crystal Palace have only won one of 10 top flight games played on New Year’s Eve (5N L4), beating Notts County in 1992.