By West Ham Zone speaking to Frank McAvennie

4th Nov, 2021 | 10:10am

Frank McAvennie: West Ham captain Mark Noble to start ahead of Declan Rice v Genk

We’re delighted to welcome former West Ham United striker Frank McAvennie as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the London Stadium…

Frank McAvennie suggests West Ham could be set to make a major change to their starting line-up for Thursday night’s clash at Genk.

The ex-Irons attacker has mooted a possible rest for 22-year-old midfield talisman Declan Rice with Irons captain Mark Noble, 14 years his senior, backed to replace him in the starting XI with Sunday’s Premier League clash against Liverpool in mind.

“He’s [David Moyes] got a big game on Sunday,” McAvennie told West Ham Zone. “I think Noble will come in and maybe give Rice a wee rest, put him on the bench just in case. That’s the way I think David will do it.”

Rest for Rice?

Moyes faces the conundrum of whether to go full throttle and secure Europa League qualification as soon as possible, or play it slightly riskier and rest some of his key stars.

Liverpool make the trip to the London Stadium on Sunday and the Irons could close leapfrog the visitors with a victory, so there is a lot on the line for Moyes and his team.

However, surely the Europa League will take precedence as Moyes will want to win the group as soon as possible in order to rest more players for the final two fixtures, which could be dead rubbers if they beat Genk in Belgium tonight.

Rice has started all three Europa League games so far, scoring twice, and he will be desperate to keep his place in the side.

Noble could join him in the starting XI, though, if Moyes opts to bench Tomas Soucek, who has not scored in his last 13 games.

In other West Ham news, the Irons want to sign this ‘Brilliant’ £25.3m-rated South-American centre-mid who won a major 2021 tournament.

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