By David Woods

11th Dec, 2017 | 2:55pm

Exclusive: West Ham to green light deal for talented enforcer, David Gold a big fan

West Ham United are ready to reward young defender Declan Rice for his progress with a new deal at the club, Football Insider sources understand.

Rice is entering the final 18 months of his current contract at the London Stadium and West Ham want to secure him on a new long-term deal.

Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Rice is highly-regarded within the corridors of power at London Stadium and Hammers co-chairman David Gold hailed the teenager for his performance in the recent 2-1 defeat at Premier League leaders Manchester City.

A well-placed source has told Football Insider that West Ham have opened preliminary talks with the representatives of the teenager to tie him to a long-term contract.

Rice has broken into the first-team picture this season and has made 10 appearances in the first-team so far this campaign after making his debut in the final game of last season against Burnley.

The talented central defender has started three Premier League games to date and seems set to remain an integral part of David Moyes’ first-team squad.

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The 18-year-old started out at Chelsea before moving to West Ham in 2014 and he has progressed through the youth ranks at the Hammers.

In other West Ham news, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp has criticised the club after their surprise 1-0 victory over Chelsea on Saturday.  

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