Harry Redknapp tells West Ham to stick by David Moyes as Declan Rice given transfer advice
Just how much pressure is David Moyes under at West Ham? Harry Redknapp is almost affronted by the notion.
Redknapp came up against Moyes 20 times during his 34-year managerial career but was victorious just five times. He knows all too well about Moyes’s quality as a head coach.
“You lose a few games and you come under pressure,” Redknapp bemoans to Standard Sport. “Every time you lose a few games, you don’t suddenly look at the manager and think he’s no good. It shouldn’t work like that.”
Redknapp spent seven years of his playing career at West Ham before managing the side between 1994 and 2001. He has the club’s best interests at heart. And even with West Ham languishing in the relegation zone in 18th place, Redknapp is in no doubt that the board should continue to back Moyes through this lull.
West Ham have won just one out of eight games since the season restarted following the World Cup. It is rotten form that has left them languishing precariously in the drop zone, just two points above last-place Southampton.
“Alex Ferguson wouldn’t have done 20-odd years at Manchester United if they’d sacked him after a few bad results,” Redknapp points out. “He had a chairman who realised he had a good manager and he didn’t just discard him and kick him out when they were struggling. They’ve [West Ham] got a good manager in David Moyes, I don’t see why he should be under severe pressure.
“Last year I thought they made great progress. David Moyes did a great job. They finished seventh in the league; it was a good season for them. This year they’ve not got the same. One or two of the players, their form has dipped. What can you do? Very difficult as a manager.”
Why should Moyes be under pressure?
The club lost centre-back Craig Dawson to fellow strugglers Wolves in January, while key players such as Jarrod Bowen, Michail Antonio and Declan Rice have all struggled for form during the season.
“Bowen looks like he’s coming back to form now which is great because I think he’s an outstanding player for them,” Redknapp says. “They rely heavily on him and he looks like he’s suddenly hitting top form again. When he’s in form they’re a different team.
“They’ve had a few injuries to key players. Central defenders have been injured. Tomas Soucek, the big midfield player, hasn’t hit the heights he hit last year. But it goes in cycles. I still think they’ll finish about halfway [up] the division,” he predicts confidently.
West Ham’s prized asset is of course Rice, the England midfielder who came through their academy system as a centre-back before transitioning into one of the league’s best defensive midfielders. For the national team, he has been a vital cog in Gareth Southgate’s machine ever since making his debut against the Czech Republic in March 2019.
Rice’s stocks have only risen since then, peaking as he starred at Euro 2020 and at the 2022 World Cup. He has been linked with moves to Chelsea and Manchester United in the past, and recently became the top transfer target of league leaders Arsenal.
Rice has rejected offers of a new contract at West Ham in recent years, and the club are now accepting a summer exit is inevitable without Champions League football to offer. Redknapp, though, urges the 24-year-old to stick it out in East London for a little longer.
“I think he’s still young. I’d like to see him have a couple more years at West Ham. It’s a great stadium with 60,000 people every week. He’s early mega money. Where do you go?”
Redknapp saw first-hand what happened to his nephew Frank Lampard when he left West Ham as a young player for Chelsea. Lampard was often booed by Hammers fans whenever he returned to the club in Chelsea colours, and Redknapp does not want to see the same happen to Rice, who is into his sixth full season with the Irons.
“Look how strong he [Lampard] had to be. He got some stick [for leaving West Ham] and it still saddens me. He grew up loving West Ham. His dad played for 20-odd years for the club. He lived for West Ham.”
“He’s probably happy there,” Redknapp says about Rice. “He’s a big fish at West Ham. The fans love him. Does he need a move at this particular time?”
The ball is in Rice’s court. Moyes can’t say the same.