By Frank McAvennie

20th Jun, 2020 | 8:00am

'He's turned into Eric Dier' - West Ham Exclusive: McAvennie digs at Declan Rice

Frank McAvennie has insisted West Ham are wasting Declan Rice by playing him in midfield.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the ex-Hammer claimed the big fans favourite is the best centre-back at the club and should drop back to hold the defence together.

He compared the 21-year-old to fellow England international and versatile operator Eric Dier, who is naturally a defender but has spent most of his career playing in midfield.

Rice broke int the West Ham team in his late teens playing in central defence but has operated almost exclusively in a midfield anchorman in the last two seasons.

He has played every minute of the Hammers’ 29 Premier League matches this term and is expected to be used in that role in tonight’s clash against Watford at the London Stadium.

“I think Declan Rice is the best centre-half they have at West Ham but they keep putting him in the midfield,” McAvennie told Football Insider.

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“He is not the best midfield player, he’s turned into Eric Dier! Passing sideways.

“Declan would make a good centre-half, he has that ability to defend and a lot of energy.”

Intriguingly, Dier has been used at centre-back by Tottenham either side of the lockdown and got the nod from Jose Mourinho to start alongside Davinson Sanchez in last night’s 1-1 draw against Man United.

It meant both Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, the longstanding pairing for club and country, were both left on the bench.

It would be a surprise for David Moyes to do the same with Rice in the West Ham line-up this evening, as Angelo Ogbonna and Issa Diop are expected to start together in central defence.

In other West Ham news, it can be REVEALED what it would take for the club to sell Grady Diangana to one of his many suitors including West Brom.