David Moyes is hopeful Declan Rice can soon establish himself in the West Ham first team.
Rice played in the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City – the 18-year-old defender’s seventh Premier League appearance this season.
He is a doubt for this weekend’s derby against Chelsea, but Hammers boss Moyes is encouraged by what he has seen of Rice so far.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Chelsea game, Moyes said: “I thought Declan Rice did really well last week, but I also thought that on the second goal his level of concentration could have been better.
“But playing young centre-halves has probably become more difficult in the Premier League than playing a young goalkeeper or a young centre-forward, because the quality you’re up against means it’s some task.
“Declan is one who is looking as if he could force his way into the first team. But unfortunately he has had flu all week this week and been off for about three days, so that just makes him a little bit of a doubt.”
Moyes was pleased with his team’s much-improved performance against City but plans to make changes for the Chelsea game.
He explained: “Tactically, Manchester City play with two high and wide wingers in Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling, but Chelsea don’t.
“They play with three at the back and two wing-backs and one forward with Eden Hazard dropped in behind.
“That change means we can’t set up the same, but we need a similar performance to get ourselves a result. Tactically, we’ll have to be slightly different to give ourselves a chance.”