West Ham United star Declan Rice last night leapt to defend Mark Noble and told fans to lay off the captain.
“Back in no time” West Ham star Declan Rice delivers positive outlook on injury
West Ham were rocked by the news that ever present talisman Rice is set to miss at least four weeks through injury.
Fans have long feared an injury to Rice. And many are worrying what it will now mean for West Ham’s European hopes this season.
West Ham’s lack of depth exposed by Rice injury
The Hammers have a lack of depth in central midfield with only ageing skipper Noble as back-up.
Noble is loved by West Ham fans but his ability to perform at Premier League level has been questioned.
Indeed way back in January last year the player himself said West Ham must stop relying on him and look to younger players (talkSPORT).
Ahead of the Wolves clash, West Ham had a dismal record in the four league games Noble has started this season. They had taken just one point from a possible 12.
That is in stark contrast to the consistently high level reached by David Moyes’s side in what is promising to be the club’s best campaign for 35 years.
Hammers fans voiced Noble fears ahead of Wolves victory
With Noble in for Rice, West Ham raced into a three-goal lead for the second game in a row at Wolves.
Wolves scored two goals to set nerves jangling. But West Ham held on for a win that puts them fourth in the table with eight games to go.
Rice was kicking every ball from home as he posted on social media throughout the game while resting his injured knee.
After the match, Rice leapt to defend Noble and politely called on West Ham fans to lay off the skipper.
Rice defends Noble and calls on supporters to lay off skipper
“No criticism please,” Rice said about Noble in response to a post highlighting that the Hammers captain had made more ball recoveries (9) and more interceptions (4) than any other player against Wolves.
West Ham’s win came at a cost, though, as Michail Antonio went off with a hamstring injury once again.
Rice will be out for the foreseeable future and Antonio is a major doubt for Sunday’s crunch clash against Leicester.
West Ham must hope Noble can continue to step up in Rice’s absence. And Jarrod Bowen will likely deputise for Antonio.