Relaxed Rice is relishing role as West Ham skipper

·2-min read
Premier League - West Ham United v Sheffield United

(Reuters) - West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice said his laidback nature had helped him in his role as skipper of the Premier League team this season in the absence of club captain Mark Noble.

The 33-year-old Noble, who has made more than 500 appearances for the club in all competitions, has found playing time limited in the current campaign with David Moyes's side pushing for a top-four finish.

England international Rice has stepped into the leadership role and said his personality had played an important part in his success.

"I'm not one that when I'm wearing the armband, I'm shouting around at everyone. I'm more one that's around to support rather than be negative, because everyone's always going to make a mistake," Rice told global broadcaster beIN SPORTS.

"I'm quite a laidback character. I'm full of energy but I'm laidback. When people are really serious sometimes, I'm chilled. So I think that's helped with the lads."

Noble signed a contract extension with the club this month and said in an open letter to fans that the 2021-22 season would be his 18th and final one at the London side.

"It's going to be different. I'm hoping he stays beyond the year. I think 100% he's got to. But yeah, he's been incredible, and West Ham without Mark Noble isn't going to be the same," Rice said.

"That's what it's been like with him, it's all he's ever known, so we need to give him the send-off he deserves when the next season comes to an end.

"We've had so many good moments together on the pitch where he's been the older head... Off the pitch the way he looks after the lads, not only me, the way he gets on with everyone, he's special. He's going to be irreplaceable."

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; editing by Clare Fallon)