By Peter Lynch

15th Mar, 2023 | 8:40pm

Pablo Fornals: West Ham captain Declan Rice is ‘putting the team on his back’

West Ham winger Pablo Fornals says captain Declan Rice has put the team “on his back” this season, with the Hammers skipper influencing those around him in a positive way.

Rice has starred in claret and blue once again in the current campaign despite the club struggling massively in the Premier League. It is only goal difference that is keeping the Hammers safe from relegation.

Winger Fornals has done his utmost to ensure safety in recent matches, but he believes the club’s captain is the one that is holding everything together.

“All of you know Declan,” Fornals told reporters, as quoted on West Ham’s official website.

“He’s a great lad, he’s our captain, he’s learned a lot from Nobes and I think he’s just tried to be a positive [influence] and help everyone, putting the team on his back.”

Rice future uncertain

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Fornals’ comments come amid an uncertain period in Rice’s brief career so far, with the central midfielder rumoured with a move to a whole host of top clubs.

The likes of Premier League giants Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United have all been linked with the England international in recent windows, and it is looking increasingly likely that one club may get their way this summer.

After seven seasons and counting at West Ham, many believe Rice will move on in a bid to play European football, with the Hammers expected to be in for a huge windfall should he exit.

The midfielder could be handed a well-deserved rest for the upcoming Europa Conference League meeting with AEK Larnaca, with the Hammers going into the second leg with a 2-0 aggregate lead.

As reported by Transfermarkt, only Jarrod Bowen has played more minutes than Rice for the club this season, proving just how crucial he is to the Hammers.