West Ham manager Slaven Bilic has hinted that young centre back Declan Rice will be given an opportunity to play against Burnley on Sunday.
First choice centre half Winston Reid has undergone knee surgery and will not return until the start of next season. Angelo Ogbonna is also still out injured and with Reece Oxford out on loan at Reading, a vacancy has opened up in the three man defence.
Usually midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate would fill in but he has out of the match at Turfmoor with a wrist injury so Rice may be given a chance to impress. Bilic said at his pre-match press conference today:
“We have a game on Sunday and we have many injuries, but he’s one of them that may play. He’s in the squad. Declan is very good for his age. He is extremely good, he is mature and it’s all based on the training and he plays very well for the Under-23s. He has a bright future in him and it’s all down to him.”
Rice has captained the under 23 side for most of the campaign despite being only 18, and has helped the team to promotion from Premier League 2’s second division this season.
He is highly rated by academy staff and Academy Director Terry Westley says the defender has a “huge future in the game.”