Danny Mills claims that West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is fighting a losing battle to impress in the middle of the park due to his reliance on his Hammers teammates performing well.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Manchester City and England defender says that the 20-year-old’s defensive midfield role means that he is not given the same sort of opportunities to shine as those in more creative positions.
The Irons have been on a dire run of form in recent weeks, Manuel Pellegrini’s side without a win in seven games across all competitions – a run which was kicked off by a shock 4-0 defeat to Oxford United.
With Rice failing to live up to expectations with his recent displays, Mills says that the young enforcer is hugely reliant on those around him to lift their games to see him improve.
Mills told Football Insider: “It’s hard at times. We’re not talking about Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo where you can give them the ball and they can do something out of nothing and score two or three goals.
“As a holding midfielder you’ve just got to keep working hard, doing the simple things but you are massively reliant on other players around you also playing well, wanting the ball, being available to pass it to.
“It’s difficult to really showcase yourself in a poor team at times who are low on confidence. Declan Rice has just got to stay confident, keep doing what he’s doing, work hard, if not harder, than he has been and just keep it simple. Not try too hard and overcompensate for other people.”
Rice has played every single minute of the Irons’ Premier League campaign but has struggled to stop his defence from leaking goals in recent weeks.
The Hammers conceded three against both Burnley and Newcastle United, while they have shipped at least two in all but one of their last six games.
In other West Ham news, Alan Hutton has blasted a Hammers regular who “the more he plays, the worse he gets.”