Tony Cottee Makes Captaincy Claim As He Speaks Out On Declan Rice’s “Slow Start” To The Season

Tony Cottee Makes Captaincy Claim As He Speaks Out On Declan Rice’s “Slow Start” To The Season

Ex-West Ham striker Tony Cottee believes the weight of the captain’s band may have had a role in Declan Rice’s rather “slow start” to the campaign.

The 23-year-old took on the position when Mark Noble retired in the summer and Cottee feels the extra responsibility may be affecting his performances on the pitch:

“We all know how good he is. Maybe he is feeling more responsibility on his shoulders, but he did it last year. By his high standards, he’s had a relatively slow start to the season, I’m sure he’d be the first to admit it. You can’t explain it sometimes as a player though, you can have a brilliant pre-season but then be awful for the first few games in the league.”

“It works the other way as well, you just don’t know, sometimes it takes a while to get going. There is no doubting the quality of Declan as captain but, yes of course we have missed Mark Noble.”

Cottee may be correct that Rice is feeling the pressure somewhat but he is certainly not the only Hammers player who is performing well below expectations at the moment.

The England international can only do so much if his teammates are not reaching the standards that they have shown in previous seasons.

Of course, there are likely to be other factors in play for Rice, in particular. While there is no questioning his professionalism, doubts about his future may have crept into the back of his mind.

He has reportedly rejected multiple offers to extend his contract at West Ham and, with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United interested in him, he may have taken his eye off the ball slightly. Saying that, though, he will never give less than 100% to the team and, hopefully, he recaptures his best form soon.