Former West Ham United striker Frank McAvennie has lamented the knee injury that has ruled talismanic midfielder Declan Rice out for a significant period.
Having previously been ever-present in the Premier League this season, Rice was forced to watch on from home as David Moyes’ side clung on to a 3-2 lead after withstanding a valiant Wolves fightback on Monday night.
That victory moved the Irons into the top four and put UEFA Champions League qualification in their own hands with eight league fixtures remaining.
“The shock news coming out of West Ham is that Rice is going be out for up to six weeks, which will be a massive blow for West Ham, especially in their hunt for European places.
“It’s a terrible shame for the boy, who’s been raising his game week in week out. I’d be annoyed, no disrespect to [Mark] Noble who’s been a wonderful player and servant to West Ham, but he looks like the automatic choice.
“But when Nobes plays, they tend to defend an awful lot more. They don’t have that energy that Soucek and Rice bring in the midfield, no disrespect to Nobes.”
Will West Ham finish in the top four?
The midfield partnership Rice has formed alongside Tomas Soucek has arguably been an instrumental factor in West Ham’s success this season and could therefore be sorely missed in the England man’s absence – not that it was felt in Monday night’s victory.
With European-chasing Leicester City and relegation-battling Newcastle United up next, the Irons will have to guard against the loss of Rice having a major impact on their performance.