Declan Rice might be left frustrated with manager David Moyes if he is asked to play at centre-back for West Ham United in the near future.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that the Hammers’ injury crisis has taken another sharp turn for the worse, with Issa Diop the latest man set for a spell on the sidelines.
This could have a big impact on the team, and with that in mind, TIF has taken a look at why.
Should Declan Rice play at centre-back while so many West Ham defenders are injured?
Due to the injury concerns, Craig Dawson remains the only fit senior centre-back option for West Ham. Fortunately, Rice has played there in the past, so he might seem like a natural fit.
However, in the last few seasons, he has established himself as one of the Premier League’s best midfielders – even starting in that role for England as they made the EURO 2020 final.
Despite his proven quality in the middle of the park, some had tipped Rice to end up as a centre-back eventually, as this was where he often played when he was first breaking into the senior team.
However, the 23-year-old has spoken out against such an idea. As recently as last November, he slammed the notion publicly when he told the Evening Standard: “It’s laughable. I think you can see in my game I’m never a centre-back. I feel like I’ve got too much ability to be playing at the back.
“I want to be progressive and athletic. I feel like I can do that in a midfield sense. I feel like now I’m not just a holding midfielder anymore.”
With a Europa League semi-final to come, Rice will want to play in his strongest position. Indeed, playing in a slightly more advanced role this season, he has even managed to net a few goals, scoring three times in eight European games – while adding one more and four assists in the league.
Meanwhile, he hasn’t played centre-back once this term. In fact, the last time he played the role was in a League Cup tie against Everton back in September 2020. That game did not end well, either, with the Irons conceding four times in a heavy defeat that saw them exit the competition.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see why he hasn’t played in the heart of defence since.
In the end, Moyes may feel as if he has no choice to play Rice in defence. If that’s the case, the West Ham man may be frustrated, but as one of the club’s leaders, he’ll likely accept his duty.
However, by moving the star player into a position he hasn’t played recently, it could spell big trouble. Moyes will certainly have to be careful about how he approaches this dilemma.