Declan Rice praised Nikola Vlasic for his upper-body strength when speaking to Soccer AM and his comments have now put pressure on David Moyes to play the Croatian more regularly.
The Croatia international joined the Hammers from CSKA Moscow on transfer deadline day in the summer for around £31 million. He was handed a five-year £70k-a-week contract (ExWHUemployee).
The 24-year-old has made a slow start to life with the Hammers but in truth he hasn’t had too many chances to impress.
David Moyes has constantly told reporters that he wants to slowly ease Vlasic into life in England – it’s how the Scot has always dealt with new signings throughout his career in the game.
The problem is that Moyes could really do with integrating Vlasic into the team now. And Rice’s comments may well have just forced the Scot’s hand.
The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been given just 382 Premier League minutes spread over 13 appearances this season.
How on earth is Vlasic supposed to prove his worth when he is hardly playing? Perhaps Moyes feels as though he isn’t physically ready or the Premier League?
Well if that’s the case, Declan Rice has just blown that misconception to pieces.
The 23-year-old West Ham ace raved about Vlasic’s strength, when speaking to Soccer AM:
“I would put him in there, I would say that he’s one of the top three strongest players I’ve played with as well, he is so strong.”
Vlasic is clearly very strong – an attribute needed to succeed in the Premier League.
And considering the woeful form of Michail Antonio, Moyes has no other option other than to bring Vlasic into the fold.
The Croatian can operate as a false nine and given his impressive upper body strength, he should be perfectly suited to the role.
Moyes has nowhere to hide now. Rice’s comments on the 24-year-old proves that he is ready to play regular Premier League football for West Ham.
It’s time for him to come into the team in place of Michail Antonio. There are no excuses anymore. It’s Vlasic’s time to shine.