Flynn Downes has aimed a not-so-subtle dig at David Moyes after leaving West Ham for Southampton.
Everyone at West Ham had known as far back as last year that Rice was going to be sold in this summer transfer window.
Bringing Downes in from Swansea was seen as a pro-active and cunning move by the Hammers to blood the all-action midfielder alongside the man he might eventually replace.
But one month after Rice was sold to Arsenal for £105m, Downes has followed him out of the West Ham exit in a season-long loan to Southampton.
Downes had made his frustrations at lack of game time clear
It had been reported that one of the conditions of West Ham getting Saints captain James Ward-Prowse was that Downes would go in the other direction, either on loan or permanently.
Downes publicly admitted he was frustrated at his lack of minutes and starts during his debut season at West Ham. That was understandable given he could not force his way past Tomas Soucek – who struggled for large parts of the campaign.
While there were clearly things he needed to improve, Downes impressed overall with his tackling, intensity and with how comfortable he was on the ball in that defensive midfield role when he did get his chance at West Ham.
David Moyes tried to switch to a more possession-based style last season. But he admitted the experiment failed as West Ham recorded the second worst possession statistics in the Premier League last term.
And it was a big factor in many fans feeling the club needed to replace Moyes with a more modern, progressive coach in the summer.
West Ham have started this season with similarly low possession stats as they revert to being a counter attacking side – for the moment at least.
Many supporters and players have been critical of Moyes’ tactics in a league full of Pep Guardiola disciples.
Flynn Downes aims not-so-subtle dig at David Moyes after leaving West Ham for Southampton
Mark Warburton admitted he left the club this summer after clashing with Moyes over their differing football philosophy.
Gianluca Scamacca was unhappy with the style of play and did not fit in Moyes’ system either.
Now Downes has aimed a not-so-subtle dig at Moyes after leaving West Ham for Southampton.
The 24-year-old admits he knew he had to leave West Ham when he saw the club signing midfielders such as Edson Alvarez and Ward-Prowse.
‘It’s a great style of play, I think every team wants to be like that’
And he waxed lyrical about Russell Martin’s style of play, saying it suits him perfectly.
Downes states he is excited to get back to playing in a team with a more possession-based game, saying that’s what players and fans want.
“That was the best year I’ve had in my career (playing under Martin at Swansea),” Downes said on Southampton’s website.
“The way we played suited me down to a tee and I just found I slotted right in. I loved coming in every day – I think that’s a big thing.
“It’s a good watch, I’m sure all the fans are happy with it. It’s a great style of play – what team doesn’t want to dominate the ball like Man City? I think every team wants to be like that.
“I spoke many times with the West Ham gaffer and I came to the conclusion I wanted to play week in, week out. Obviously I know West Ham have signed a lot of midfielders, so I knew that would be tough, but I think a lot of things just appealed to me here.”