David Moyes responds to Roy Keane’s criticism of Declan Rice with bold prediction for West Ham captain

To the top: David Moyes has backed Declan Rice to captain club and country  (AFP via Getty Images)
To the top: David Moyes has backed Declan Rice to captain club and country (AFP via Getty Images)

David Moyes has insisted Declan Rice will go on to become England captain as he responded to Roy Keane’s criticism of the West Ham midfielder.

Speaking at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, when West Ham took the lead but fell to a fifth-round defeat in the FA Cup against Manchester United, Keane suggested Rice had to do a lot more to justify the interest in him as he claimed the England international was failing to stand out even in a “bad team”.

Arsenal are believed to be planning a summer move for the 24-year-old, while there is also longstanding interest from Chelsea, who Rice played for as a youth player.

When quizzed about Keane’s comments in his press conference ahead of this weekend’s trip to Brighton, Moyes stated that there is still plenty more improvement to come from the West Ham captain.

“I think Declan has been an amazing player for us - 40 England caps, I have no doubt he will be an England captain in the future,” Moyes said.

“I believe he will play at the highest level in the future, we hope it is at West Ham, that would be our choice.

“[Keane] was one of the best midfielders of his generation so he can spot a good player. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Dec is not a finished player but he will improve.”

Keane criticised Rice for too often playing simple passes, as he warned the midfielder had a long way to go to be on the same level as some of the best midfielders in the Premier League.

“Sometimes I think it’s easier to play in a bad team - to me he doesn’t stand out in a bad team, which is a bit of a worry,” Keane told ITV Sport.

“For all the talk about him, a lot of good PR coming out of West Ham about how much he’s worked, I think he needs to do a lot more. Doesn’t score enough goals, doesn’t get enough assists.

“Sometimes I see games at West Ham, not saying he’s playing badly but sometimes he’s just going through the motions, sideways, backwards, picking the easy option. He needs to do a lot more to match some of the top midfielders in the country.”