Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Getty Images

Ask any West Ham United fan and they will tell you their biggest highlight of last season was the emergence of Declan Rice.

West Ham have endured two miserable seasons flirting with relegation since leaving Upton Park for the London Stadium.

If that’s what it took to expedite Rice’s rise to prominence both at club and international level then for many supporters it will all have been worthwhile.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United via Getty Images

Fans have been troubled by speculation the former Chelsea academy prospect might leave this summer after being rejecting an unsatisfactory new deal by the West Ham hierarchy (talkSPORT).

With just over a week to go until the close of the transfer window the 19-year-old looks unlikely to be sold, though.

Manuel Pellegrini has been using the versatile Rice – who can operate in central defence or in the heart of midfield – in various positions during pre-season.

The young Ireland star is equally adept in both roles.

But that in itself creates a welcome headache for Pellegrini, where to play him.

West Ham have invested around £40 million improving their defensive unit so far this summer with the signings of Lukas Fabianski, Ryan Fredericks, Issa Diop and Fabian Balbuena.

Meanwhile only Jack Wilshere has been added to a central midfield department that was found wanting last season and will be without Manuel Lanzini for most if not all of this season.

Photo by Rob Newell – CameraSport via Getty Images

That would suggest Pellegrini may see Rice as a central midfielder first.

But the Hammers have looked suspect at the back so far in pre-season and are coming off the back of having the joint worst defensive record in the Premier League last season with 68 goals conceded.

 

Rice would undoubtedly improve the defence and help shore things up but supporters have been debating where they want to see his talents utilised.

Central midfield seems to be the preferred option and here’s what some fans have been saying on Twitter.

Have something to tell us about this article?