The former Hammers player shared that he knew when first training with the midfield enforcer that he was talented and added that he was excited to see how far Rice could go in the game.
Nolan praised Rice’s ability as well as his attitude before giving him credit for the Hammers’ start to the season.
“Yeah he’s top-notch, he’s absolutely a quality lad, quality player and still has more to come if he wants to be top end, he can be,” said Nolan on Football Centre (Sky Sports News, 10:55am, Tuesday, September 24th).
“I knew it when when I trained with him when he was 17, maybe 16, coming up, you could see he had the confidence, the ability, the self-assurance and arrogance which you need to be a top player so yeah I’m excited to see how far he goes.
“He is another major reason why West Ham have started so well and is another major reason why I feel West Ham have a great chance of breaking into the top-six.”
Nolan couldn’t say any more kind words about Rice if he tried as he effectively gushes about the midfielder. To say the midfield enforcer is a major reason why the Hammers can drastically improve on last season’s 10th-place finish and end up in the top-six this season is some praise indeed. The 20-year-old has featured five times in the Premier League so far and has pulled his weight defensively. Rice has averaged 3.5 tackles per game, 1.8 interceptions per match and has even achieved an impressive rating of 7.05 across his league displays on WhoScored. While the 20-year-old has played his part this season, it’s a bit much to directly call him a reason why the Hammers can dream of a top-six finish. After all the Hammers are benefiting from having several quality players at the moment, and each player deserve credit for helping Manuel Pellegrini’s side have a strong start to the campaign.