The national newspaper compiled a list of each Premier League team’s finest performer thus far this campaign, and the 6-cap England international made the grade for the east London outfit.
He joined the likes of Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy.
The paper’s entry on the 20-year-old reads: “It’s easy to forget the England international is still only 20, he organises the Hammers defence and midfield like a veteran.”
West Ham’s recent nosedive down the Premier League table has made picking their player of the season so far somewhat of a tricky task. Winger Andriy Yarmolenko started the campaign in blistering form, but has declined alarmingly over the past few weeks. Then there’s Angelo Ogbonna, no doubt an early-season star, albeit one who has been bafflingly removed from the first team reckoning over the past two games. So this ‘award’, such as it is, kind of falls to Rice by default, more than anything, and speaks to the shocking lack of production from the majority of the West Ham squad. The statistics, though, do demonstrate that the Englishman has been excellent. As per WhoScored.com, Rice is averaging three tackles and 2.1 interceptions per game this campaign, to go with 1.2 successful dribbles and a pass success rate of 89.7%. He’s not quite been as scintillating as he was last season, but he’s comfortably been the Hammers’ best player this term.