Declan Rice’s run of playing every minute of every Premier League match for West Ham is set to end on Monday night with the midfielder suffering a knee injury while on international duty with England.

According to Sky Sports, the 22-year-old could miss a month of action with the Telegraph reporting the Hammers ace hurt his knee around the hour-mark in England’s 2-1 win over Poland last week.

Rice played on and won the player of the match award as the Three Lions preserved their perfect start to World Cup qualifying.

However, that has come at a massive cost for West Ham, who look set to be without their key midfielder for matches against Wolves, Leicester, Newcastle, Chelsea and Burnley – and potentiall more.

Not only is losing Rice a blow but it is also likely that Mark Noble could step in to replace the injured midfielder while he’s out.

While Noble is West Ham’s club captain, the Hammers have failed to win any of the four Premier League matches he’s started this season.

Rice has so clearly been better than Noble too this season.

Using stats by Wyscout, you can see how Rice and Noble have compared to one another in the Premier League this season.

While Noble averages more attempted passes and long passes, Rice has averaged more dribbles, duels, aerial duels, interceptions and recoveries per 90 minutes of Premier League game-time in comparison to Mr West Ham.

Noble has been used in a more attacking role than Rice whenever he’s been played which explains the higher average passes but when it comes to a more central role, where Rice has played, it’s clear the now-injured England international stands out.

Rice has also impressed this season for his ability on the ball.

You needn’t look any further back than the 3-3 draw versus Arsenal to see how well Rice can move the ball forward with it at his feet.

Below is an image of Rice about to collect a loose ball on the very edge of the West Ham penalty area.

Within three touches, he’s taken it past two Arsenal players who have tried to close him down quickly.

Rice then hits full stride, taking past another two Gunners players as he approaches the halfway line.

Another touch takes it into the Arsenal half as signs of a really threatening attack start to emerge.

Unfortunately, it starts to peter out as he approaches Arsenal’s penalty area but only six seconds elapsed between Rice collecting the ball and reaching the halfway line. Only 11 seconds passed before he got the ball inside the Gunners’ box.

It’s no surprise that Rice ranks 23rd in the Premier League for progressive runs made this season with a total of 68. That’s the same total as Andrew Robertson and more than Riyad Mahrez [64] and Mohamed Salah [58].

Most players who rank above Rice for progressive runs are wide players with it is easier to move the ball forward out on the wings.

Brighton’s Adam Webster, Chelsea’s Mason Mount and Southampton’s Adam Armstrong are among the few central players who are above Rice.

West Ham are likely to suffer a lot with Rice’s ability to burst forward as he did against Arsenal.

As it stands, only Burnley and Sheffield United average fewer dribbles per 90 minutes than West Ham in the Premier League this season [20.75]. As for progressive runs, only four teams rank lower than the Hammers as they average 12.08 per 90 minutes.

It means the Irons will have to find different ways to move the ball forward without Rice’s ability in the middle of the park.

We don’t think Noble will be able to do it due to his lack of mobility and he doesn’t exactly have the large stride and strength that Rice boasts either when he cuts through opposing players.

David Moyes has a real issue to contend with here and one we’re not sure how he fixes unless there’s a huge emphasis on getting the ball out wide and returning to a formation that utilises three-at-the-back.

In other West Ham news, Frank McAvennie has urged his former club to sign a replacement for Fabian Balbuena.


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