Celtic

Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp has claimed that West Ham will be fighting off bids for Declan Rice in the summer after yet another solid performance by the defender on Saturday.

Rice, 19, capped off a brilliant couple of weeks in which he earned his debut cap for the Republic of Ireland by helping the Hammers keep a clean sheet and beat relegation rivals Southampton 3-0 at the London Stadium.

The teenager has made just eight Premier League starts this term but surely David Moyes must not consider him to be a mainstay of his defensive line after dealing with everything that was thrown at him in what was arguably the London club’s biggest game of the season.

Redknapp was left drooling over the West Ham ace’s performance against the Saints and hailed his unbelievable mental characteristics and compared him to Chelsea legend John Terry.

“It is ridiculous that it is possible to win Young Player of the Year aged 24. The award should be given to the best player under 20 — and with that criterion Declan Rice would be a serious contender,” he said on the Daily Mail website.

“This kid is the next John Terry. At 19 he plays with maturity, is unbelievably brave and comfortable on the ball. Rice capped a fine week, in which he was man of the match on his Republic of Ireland debut against Turkey, with an assured display against Southampton. This summer I have little doubt that West Ham will be fighting off bids for their young star.”

Football Insider verdict

West Ham fans have been crying out for Moyes to play Rice more regularly and he backed them up with a fantastic performance at the weekend against Southampton. Reece Oxford is the young Hammers centre-back who has got everyone talking but in reality it seems that Rice is the real future of this Hammers side. Judging by his performances in the last few weeks, it’s annoying that London-born Rice will not be able to play for England in the future having pledging his allegiance to Ireland. 

In other West Ham news, the Irons are ready to make a £15million swoop for this goal machine from a fourth-placed club.

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