West Ham have turned a corner significantly within the past few weeks, moving six points above the relegation zone following a win over Southampton and a draw with West Ham.
The Hammers have also seen a number of fresh faces catch the eye, including that of Republic of Ireland international Declan Rice after injury issues in the squad thrusted the teenager into the first-team frame.
Still just 19, Rice has impressed and is in-line for a bumper new contract at the London Stadium and veteran full-back Pablo Zabaleta believes this is just the beginning of the youngster, tipping him to be a future club captain.
Speaking to the club’s official website, the Argentina international said:
“It’s fantastic to see Dec playing at that level. He’s only 19, I can’t believe that. He looks very mature and he’s improving game after game.”
“I love when I see young players from the academy coming through, I like to have him next to me because he’s young and he’s got that energy to play. I hope I can help him and teach him how to defend.”
“This guy has a great future at this club. He could be a future captain at West Ham, I’m sure about this – very pleased for him.”