Many West Ham fans will relish Julian Dicks’ verdict on midfielder Declan Rice as it implies that he is only going to get better.
The former Hammers defender and coach was asked for his opinion on the 20-year-old and shared he could envision the player staying at the London Stadium for another year.
Dicks noted that Rice has to keep getting better every year, as he wasn’t the finished article, but pointed out that he was level-headed and worked hard; which implies he is more than capable of fulfiling his potential.
“Erm yeah I mean Declan is obviously a fantastic player, level-headed as well, hopefully, he stays like it,” stated Dicks in an interview with Ian Abrahams, which was uploaded to the broadcaster’s Instagram.
“You’d like him to say another year at West Ham, but he has to keep progressing and he can’t be the same as the season just gone, he has to get better each season.
“He’s not the finished article by the long stretch, you’re the finished article when you’re 25,26 and in your prime, erm but the thing is you have to keep progressing every year.
“Declan Rice works hard, he’s a great lad and he has a great head on him like you said, hopefully, he stays like it, I think he will and hopefully everything will be there for him.”
West Ham supporters will love that Dicks is hopeful that Rice is going nowhere, despite the Sun reporting that Man City and Man United are keen on him, as fans are no doubt aware how important he is to Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
The 20-year-old started 89% of the Hammers’ Premier League outings in his latest campaign, and in total scored two goals while assisting one across all of the 38 appearances he made.
However, Hammers fans will also relish the fact Dicks believes Rice can get better as he is already impressing.
The 20-year-old helped the Hammers rack up nine clean sheets in the league, won an impressive 61% of the 98 tackles he attempted, intercepted the ball 52 times and won a staggering 185 of his duels (Source: Premier League).
So if Dicks is right to suggest Rice is a long stretch from being the finished article, imagine how good his stats will end up being.
Yet there is a tiny issue with Dicks’ verdict on Rice, as the remarks he goes on to make will no doubt worry many Hammers supporters.
Abrahams asked Dicks about being tempted to join a big club, as he left the Hammers for Liverpool during his playing career, and he worryingly implied his exit was out of his hands.
“Yeah it is difficult,” responded Dicks.
“The thing is, I didn’t want to go to Liverpool so, but I enjoyed it when I was there under Graeme Souness, love Graeme Souness, but I was more than happy to come back to West Ham and for Declan, he is still a young lad so hopefully, he has got many many years in the game.”
So Hammers fans may worry how Rice’s future could end up out of his hands if a big club coming sniffing around, like Man United and Man City already are; as while he seems committed to the cause, he’s contracted until 2024, that may not one day stop his exit.