David Moyes has likened Declan Rice to Jordan Henderson and admits West Ham need to win trophies in order to keep the midfielder at the club.
Rice has developed into one of the Premier League’s leading midfielders at the London Stadium and is being courted by a number of sides, with the Hammers having reportedly placed a British transfer record valuation on the 23-year-old.
Moyes has likened the progress of Rice to England teammate Henderson, who broke into the Sunderland side as a teenager before captaining Liverpool to Champions League and Premier League success.
“If I think of when Jordan Henderson left Sunderland to go to Liverpool, there were a lot of people who were saying… not that they were surprised, but they weren’t sure,” he told The Athletic.
“I think Declan is a similar age now to what Jordan was then. And I think Declan at the moment is in a really good position. Jordan Henderson has been a great player and captain for Liverpool, having to take over from Steven Gerrard, and he has done a brilliant job. I think Declan has got a lot of the same traits.
“And as a player, he’s quick, he’s good on the ball. There’s a lot of things he can still improve on. We want to improve his passing and his goalscoring. We’re trying to get all those elements picked up, but there’s a lot of players — good England players — who at 22, 23 aren’t even close to being at the level they want to be.
“I think Declan is (already) a good way down the line to becoming a really top player. I might be wrong in saying this, but he probably won’t be far off being one of the first picks for England now. Maybe Harry Kane would be the only one in front of him.”
West Ham face a fight to retain the services of Rice, who has turned down two contract offers at the club. The England international has two years remaining on his current deal, though the Hammers having the option to extend by a further season.
Moyes admits that West Ham must win trophies in order to keep the midfielder, with the Europa League – in which the Hammers face Lyon in the quarter-finals next month – representing a chance to win a first piece of silverware since 1980.
“Probably we do [need to win trophies], yeah, so we’ve got to keep driving it on,” he said. “I have to keep driving and demanding that we keep moving on and being positive in our outlook of where we’re going to be. I need to keep adding good players, which is part of the club’s responsibility to keep with it.
“But the good thing is that we’ve got him for another three and a half years on his contract (until June 2024 with the option of an additional year), so we’re not under pressure from that. We would love him to stay, he’s so important to us, but like everything else we have to show that we can do it as well at West Ham.”