West Ham first-team coach Stuart Pearce claims Declan Rice is more than capable of adding goals to his game as he continues to develop.

The stand-in skipper has found the net just once for the Hammers this season. He scored a spot-kick in the 3-0 victory over Sheffield United.

But Pearce believes Rice can start to up his numbers. Speaking to talkSPORT on Sunday [13.00 pm], he praised the 22-year-old’s attributes. He said: “He puts the miles in.

West Ham

“He’s quick off the mark. He’s strong. He can retain the ball well under pressure and to be fair he’s very much that – the modern-day midfielder. He’s got great energy.

“We think he can develop his game into a midfield player that can score goals as well. Us at club level and England have utilised him as more of a defensive shield if you like, which he does extremely well but we still feel as though somewhere in the future there is a player who can surge forward and get goals.”

More to his game

Rice is improving all the time at West Ham and it’s so exciting to see. This season he’s formed an excellent partnership with Tomas Soucek. The Czech takes all the plaudits with regards to goals, he’s our top scorer with nine in the Premier League.

West Ham

But Rice is beginning to shoot more. In his last 12 top-flight matches, he’s had 13 attempts at goal [WyScout]. He’s still got a lot to work on, but it’s good to hear that the coaching staff are encouraging him to add this to his game.

To echo Pearce, he really is turning into an excellent all-round midfielder. On average, Rice has completed 89.1% of his passes successfully this season, and wins 53.8% of his duels. He now makes 5.14 interceptions and 7.23 recoveries per 90.

At the moment, he is arguably the best defensive midfielder in the top-flight. He certainly is for England, and has made every squad of Gareth Southgate’s since his debut in 2018.

If he can add goals to his game, he will be unstoppable. West Ham could well get used to finishing high up the table at this rate.

In other West Ham news, ex-boss Alan Pardew thinks Mark Noble will make an excellent manager one day.

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