Well it would be him , wouldn't it?

It’s always about Declan, isn’t it? Whenever internationals come around, that’s all you hear about. This World Cup has been no different, even if a lot worse.

There's nothing to moan about, no defeats to hammer David Moyes with, no ‘genius’ displays - or not, depending on your viewpoint - from Said Benrahma to beat the manager with and a transfer window weeks away.

So it’s been all about Declan Rice, and it’s becoming tedious, surely? I have to admit, through gritted teeth admittedly having had a passing acquaintance with massaging old stories into new ones in years gone by, that the repackaging, resurrecting and reheating of material in the public domain for over a year has been an astonishing work of art.


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But there’s nothing new, nothing we don’t already know. Rice turned down an eight year, £200,000 a week contract in May. So it’s not about money. He wants to play in the Champions League with his England mates. He knows he will get £400,000 a week, the going rate for an England regular, elsewhere and we can’t give him what he wants for his career or his bank balance.

So West Ham will listen to reasonable offers next summer. There’s hardly any point with new contract talks, is there? He wants away, we all know that and that’s what will happen. So, forgive me, has anything changed in the situation?

Now we see Bayern Munich are interested. Of that I'm ot surprised, and we want between £100m and £150m. A bidding war would do us nicely for the 36-times-capped England midfielder.

At that sort of price it’s Munich, possibly, Real Madrid, PSG, Manchester United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea. Maybe Newcastle. Not Barcelona in their current financial plight. Nobody else can afford that.

A change of ownership at Manchester United and Liverpool might be an issue and you can’t see him at Newcastle, unless it is only about the money. He would clearly fancy Chelsea considering where he lives with his partner and new baby in Surrey.

Whether Chelsea owner Todd Boehly would want to spend that sort of money on a player released at 14 however is a moot point, but he seems the sort to spend daft money.

So that’s it. The Rice saga revisited yet again, nothing new. Please can we leave it there. But I doubt it, just like the hounding of Moyes, the cult following for Said, it’s a painfully repetitive theme at West Ham with the twitter Taliban in full swing.


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The trolls who think they are central to things at the club or know everything about the transfers, the guys with made-up names and West Ham somewhere in their ‘handle’ to make folk think they know, you know.

So let’s concentrate on Rice and our past and present players in the World Cup. He played well against Iran, enjoyed 94 per cent passing success rate and the first 64 passes unblemished. He’s doing the job Gareth Southgate wants.

Holding midfield, ball retention, ball recovery - the best figures of any English player. Recycling, protecting the back line and providing the angles and gaps to take the ball and build through midfield.

He actually said his job was to fill the space behind Jude Bellingham to allow his colleague to attack. It worked against Iran but the USA did a job on all England’s attacking players, in particular Bellingham who was hooked. The new Trevor Brooking? I don’t think so yet.

So I can’t see how much of England’s issues were down to Rice. He passing and tackling statistics were about the same, but that didn’t stop Gary Neville having a pop and even one West Ham website suggesting he was awful and overrun. AGain I don’t think so, but it’s all about opinion.

Elsewhere Nayef Aguerd was outstanding for Morocco against Croatia and even better against Belgium. He looks a competent, stylish and brave defender.

It was amusing to see Lionel Scaloni’s Argentina lose to Saudi Arabia. Those of us who remember his part in us losing the FA Cup Final against Liverpool had little sympathy. The BBC commentary even mentioned that Cardiff disaster, obviously scars don’t heal. I’ve never watched that Cup Final DVD.


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Even Enner Valencia revived memories with three goals. In all there are 13 past and present West Ham at this World Cup.

And then we had Lucas Paqueta and Brazil. I think we all were looking forward to seeing our £35m man play against Serbia and Switzerland. And even then our fans couldn’t make their minds up, one chimp said on twitter that 'Pakata' (we all learnt how to pronounce his name thanks the South America football expert Tim Vickery) was "pathetic".

You have to wonder what game they were watching, don’t you? He looked excellent surrounded by the likes of Neymar, Jesus, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Casemino and Richarlison, which must make life a touch easier that at West Ham.

Of course David Moyes was in the firing line again. He’s not used him properly, he’s in the wrong position, West Ham should play like Brazil. It's all very predictable and another stick to beat the manager with. I’m not sure we have seen Paqueta at full throttle yet, and I don’t really blame him for that with a potential World Cup winners medal in sight, and Brazil looked superb and are my favourites to win it.

So it’s all got a bit tedious hasn’t it? No games for West Ham, a difficult league position and some tough games coming up when the whole World Cup circus comes to an end. And if any of our lot - Paqueta and Rice being the obvious candidates - get to the final on 18 December, that’s eight days before the Premier League game at Arsenal.

Quite frankly I don’t know where to start with the stupidity of this schedule and the pressures it has put the top players under. And of course it’s all Moyes’ fault, the man having a holiday in Florida knowing the knives are sharpening back home.

Finally, I see our old boy Gary O’Neil has got the Bournemouth job so Marcelo Bielsa is still out there. Just saying...

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