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West Ham United fans are buzzing after young hero Declan Rice was finally signed up to a long-term contract.

Hammers supporters have been calling for 19-year-old phenomenon Rice to be handed a new deal for months.

West Ham’s failure to do so prompted speculation that Rice could be lured elsewhere.

The likes of Chelsea and Manchester City were linked with the midfield destroyer.

But there was an outpouring of joy from East London when the club announced Rice had signed a new deal until 2024 on Christmas day no less.

It was the perfect present for Hammers fans who are loving life right now.

Manuel Pellegrini has turned West Ham into a real force with five wins from six games in December so far.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

Rice compared to greats

Rice, with 50 appearances already, has been key to that success.

His performances, not only this season but over the last 18 months, have sparked comparisons with greats like Roy Keane.

And many West Ham fans feel he is the closest they have seen to club legend Bobby Moore.

So much so that some are suggesting Moore’s iconic Number 6 shirt should be ‘unretired’ and handed to Rice.

 

Few shirts in world football have been retired.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths West Ham United via Getty Images

Fans debate ‘unretiring’ iconic Moore 6 shirt for Rice

So it was big news when West Ham decided to retire Moore’s shirt 10 years ago in 2008.

Moore, who died in 1993, is one of the most celebrated names in English football, having lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in 1966 as captain of England’s World Cup-winning team.

He was at West Ham from 1958-74 and was the club’s most successful captain, lifting the FA Cup in 1964 and European Cup Winners’ Cup the following year.

Speaking in 2008, then West Ham chief executive officer Scott Duxbury told the club’s website: “When we were talking about ways to mark 50 years since Bobby Moore’s debut, there was only one true gesture that would do him justice – retiring the number six shirt he made his own.”

Photo by Kent Gavin Keystone Getty Images

What do you think? Have your say

So could the club bring Moore’s shirt out of retirement 10 years on?

It would be a huge compliment to Rice but could also heap pressure on his young shoulders.

One thing is certain Rice would do the shirt justice.

But there is a lot of emotion attached to the issue among Hammers fans who have already been debating it on fans forums and Twitter.

What do you think? Have your say in our poll below:

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