By West Ham Zone speaking to Frank McAvennie

2nd May, 2023 | 8:10am

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 has told West Ham to replace Declan Rice’s role in the team with Manchester City ace Kalvin Phillips and current star Lucas Paqueta.

Rice is expected to leave the London Stadium this summer with Arsenal the frontrunners for his signature in a deal that could reach £100m.

His exit will leave a gaping hole in the side despite it’s inevitability, and McAvennie has urged the club to use current star Paqueta in his more preferred role while bringing in Phillips alongside him to really bolster the side.

“Of course he will but they’ve got to have somebody beside Paqueta, like a [Kalvin] Phillips,” he told West Ham Zone.

“Soucek, no. Soucek’s a good player and he might come into his own when Declan is not there.

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“Paqueta, I don’t get David. He said ‘he’s now becoming the player we thought he was, it took him a while to adjust to the league’. Do me a favour, it’s a game of football. How does it take you a year to get adjusted to football?

“He’s from Brazil, they kick lumps out of you. They learn how to play football on the beach. My God, I’m sure he can play on the wonderful surface of the London Stadium.

“I just think he’s a wonderful talent.

Phillips could leave the Etihad Stadium just a year after joining from Leeds in a £42m move, with his game time limited behind the midfield options of Rodri, Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva.

David Moyes has shown interest in Phillips before, while Paqueta has finally begun to settle in with three goals in his last four games.