Rice started both of England’s games over the international break. However, his youth is thought to be enough to ensure that he will play from the beginning against Dean Smith’s side.
That will mean the 82-cap Colombia international will have to settle for a watching brief.
This isn’t exactly surprising news, but it’s still an update that the West Ham fans will be glad to see. Although they will no doubt have been delighted to see Rice play from the start in both Three Lions games over the past week or so, there will surely have also been concerns that the young man may end up being too tired to face Villa on Monday. However, the date of the game is likely to do Manuel Pellegrini a favour here, as is Rice’s youth. By the time the game kicks off at Villa Park, he will have had six days to recover from the Kosovo clash. At just 20 years of age that should be no problem at all for him. There won’t have been too many Hammers supporters relishing the idea of the 33-year-old Sanchez starting against his former side. He’s not exactly acquitted himself well whenever he’s played from the beginning in his Irons tenure. It would be a big shock if Sanchez did get the nod, but it sounds as if Rice will be fine to start.