As if West Ham United fans did not love Declan Rice enough he is already showing his captain credentials.
Rice gave West Ham fans the perfect Christmas present when he signed a new long-term deal on Christmas Day.
It came after months of speculation and uncertainty over his future as he established himself as one of the first names on Manuel Pellegrini’s teamsheet.
West Ham’s form has dipped since. But not Rice’s.
He has continued to perform to the stupendously high levels he has set for himself.
They are levels that have already seen him compared to greats such as Roy Keane and West Ham’s own Billy Bonds and Bobby Moore.
Undoubted captain material
One thing all those players had in common was that they were supreme captains.
And Rice has showed his own captaincy credentials already, warning his West Ham teammates they must buck their ideas up.
Speaking to the club’s official website Rice has been disappointed by the last two results, a defeat at Burnley and draw with Brighton.
But he has made it clear he won’t accept a lackadaisical attitude.
“We came out fighting in the second half (against Brighton),” Rice told whufc.com.
‘It’s not good enough’
“We went close twice and our confidence was growing, and you could see that in the team. Then we conceded one, and then two minutes later we conceded another.
“Luckily enough Arnie managed to get two for us. The spirit is massive and we’ve got top quality players starting and coming off the bench.
“We’ve just got to keep going and we need to start a bit quicker in games.
“We need three points at the end of the day. A point is good but it’s not enough.”
Rice will replace Noble as skipper
If there is one player in the West Ham side who does perform with the right attitude and intensity for 90 minutes it is Rice.
Rice looks destined to take over the Hammers captaincy when Mark Noble reaches the end of his latest deal in 2021.
It is frightening to think just how influential the midfield destroyer will be by then.
He is a once in a generation player. And West Ham must make the most of having him in their side over the next few years by pushing onwards and upwards.