By Pete O’Rourke
West Ham are in advanced talks to agree a new contract with defender Declan Rice, Football Insider sources understand.
The Hammers are keen to tie the 18-year-old down to extended terms to replace his current deal, which expires in the summer of 2019.
A well-placed source has told Football Insider that negotiations between the parties are progressing well and they are hopeful an agreement will soon be reached.
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.
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.
Capable of playing in central defence or as a midfield anchorman, enforcer Rice has been compared by pundit Jamie Redknapp to a young John Terry for his reading of the game, aerial power and comfort on the ball.
The teenager started out at Chelsea before moving to West Ham in 2014 and has progressed smoothly through the age-group ranks at the London Stadium.
The Hammers hierarchy are keen to secure him to a long-term deal and are increasingly confident of doing so.