Pablo Zabaleta raved about his West Ham teammate Declan Rice, when speaking to the club’s official website.

The 21-year-old Hammers ace has been incredibly consistent over the past 20 months.

Despite some criticism from rivals fans, Rice has firmly established himself as one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League.

Manchester City v West Ham United - Premier League

Declan Rice (Photo by Visionhaus)

He is so important to West Ham. And the thought of losing him in the summer doesn’t bear thinking about for Hammers fans.

That is exactly what might happen, however, if David Moyes’s men suffer relegation this season.

Zabaleta highlighted just how important the young England international is to West Ham, when speaking to the club’s official website:

Brighton & Hove Albion v West Ham United - Premier League

Pablo Zabaleta and Declan Rice (Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images)

“I always say, since the first day I came to West Ham, I think that Dec is one of the most-talented British players around. He’s been good for us in the last two years. We’re not in the position we would like to be, but I think he has got great potential. He loves West Ham. He’s been here for so long and he came through the Academy so he loves West Ham.”

 

Rice has produced some exceptional numbers this season for the Hammers.

In 26 Premier League games for West Ham, the 21-year-old has racked up 80 tackles and 55 interceptions – the fourth and third highest totals in the league. He has also recored 32 clearances and 230 ball recoveries (premierleague.com).

Rice has an excellent pass completion rate as well. From an average of 47.2 passes per game, the West Ham ace has a success rate of 87% (Who Scored).

It is clear to see from those stats just how important the Englishman is to the Hammers. And West Ham fans just need to appreciate him whilst he is still at the club. Because it might not be long before he is on his way.

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