West Ham manager David Moyes spoke to the media ahead of the club’s trip up North to take on Sheffield United in the Premier League.
The Scottish manager has overseen a very positive start to the Premier League season for West Ham. The Hammers currently sit 12th in the league table with a positive goal difference, despite having played tough fixtures against Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham, Leicester City, Wolves and Arsenal.
There were a few interesting details to take away from Moyes’ press conference.
Rice Impresses Again
Moys had nothing but praise for Declan Rice, who scored his maiden goal for England against Iceland earlier in the week. The 21-year-old scored with a glancing header/shoulder from a Phil Foden free-kick to open the scoring in the Three Lions 4-0 win.
The Scottish manager praised the academy graduate for his performances for club and country. Moyes also suggested that he is only going to get better and is one of the best young players that the Three Lions have at their disposal.
"“The big thing is that he’s improving with the team here – it’s been great. He’s learning an awful lot from the people he’s around. His performance for England was exceptional – there were a lot of young England players on the pitch but his performance was so good. “He’s maturing. He’s picking up from good people, like Mark Noble. I think from Declan’s point of view it’s continuing to learn – see what good leaders look like. We’re trying to get him to take more leadership, more responsibility, and he’s certainly doing that.”“I can only tell you that the managers of West Ham and England thinks he’s terrific. I thought his performance for England was as good as any other young player on the pitch. Declan’s a young player as well – he’s got now 12 or 13 caps for England, and he’s doing really well, so long may that continue.”Moyes on Rice"
Rice has made over 100 appearances for the Hammers since his former manager Slaven Bilic handed him his debut against Burnley in 2017.
Antonio Closing On Return
The manager also gave an update on Hammers star forward Michail Antonio. The forward has been injured since the clubs draw with Manchester City, a game in which the 30-year-old scored a stunning overhead kick.
Since Antonio damaged his hamstring, Sebastien Haller has been leading the line for West Ham. The record signing has shown an improvement but is unable to replicate the same impact as the Englishman.
"“He’s back doing training. We’ve got a couple of days yet to see how he is. The truth is I couldn’t give you a complete answer, but he’s getting much closer that’s for sure.”Moyes on Antonio’s return"
There is hope that the striker could return to the matchday squad against Sheffield United. A starting berth would seem very unlikely; however, a place on the bench is not out of the question just yet.
The striker position is something that the club has been rumoured to want to reinforce in the next transfer window. West Ham have continuedly been linked to AFC Bournemouth striker Joshua King after there was interest in the Norwegian in summer. The Hammers have also been linked to potential loan deals for Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic and Mariano Diaz.
Moyes Warming To Increased Substitutions
After being a critic of the five substitute rule and only using it on a couple of occasions during ‘Project Restart’, Moyes is starting to warm to the prospect of bringing the rule back. Originally, the Scot believed that the rule would only help the bigger teams in the Premier League.
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"“It’s a conversation which we’ve heard a lot about recently. My opinion was that we should just have three subs because I felt it would help the sides with the bigger squads and budgets, but what I didn’t foresee was the amount of injuries.“We’ve not had a great deal of injuries and many clubs have not had a great deal of injuries. The clubs which have suffered the most have had European football. I think for the fairness of the game, for this season only, I wouldn’t be against changing and going to five substitutions. At the start, it wasn’t my first thought.”Moyes on substitutions"
West Ham have been fortunate with injuries so far this season, only Antonio and Issa Diop have been the notable absentees this season. Diop is, however, fit again and Antonio is closing on his return. The Hammers though do lack depth and could benefit from the ability to rest key players from time to time.
David Moyes will now continue to prepare his team for their match against Sheffield United on Sunday. The Hammers could move up to the top half of the table with a win and other results going their way.