By West Ham Zone speaking to Frank McAvennie

17th Jul, 2022 | 7:10pm

Pundit: Flynn Downes could be West Ham United replacement for Declan Rice

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… 

West Ham have signed Flynn Downes as a potential replacement for Declan Rice when he eventually leaves the club, according to Frank McAvennie.

Downes joined in a deal from Swansea that was rapidly concluded earlier this month, beating off interest from Crystal Palace to bring the lifelong Hammers fan to the club.

With a similar playing style to that of the skipper Rice, the former striker admitted that he feels it could be the club’s way of transitioning once Rice eventually leaves the club with Downes able to learn from him while they’re teammates.

“The fans were saying that he’s a replacement for Declan in a year or two,” he told West Ham Zone.

“Not at the moment obviously, but apparently he’s very similar to the way Declan plays. So that might explain the interest.

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I get that, buying someone for Declan’s replacement would be ideal, and he can learn off him for the next year or so. Which would be really good.”

Downes had the best passing accuracy in all of England’s top divisions, ahead of Rice in second place and enjoys a good tackle too as he showed during his time in the Championship.

Rice is expected to stay at the London Stadium this summer despite reported interest from the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United in a £100m deal, and will be club captain following the retirement of long-time skipper Mark Noble.

That will allow the 23-year-old duo, who were born just six days apart, to form a partnership for the upcoming season at least and try to help the Hammers improve on their 7th placed finish in the Premier League last season.