Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has slammed West Ham manager David Moyes for his criticism of Declan Rice, following his catastrophic mistake in a 4-1 defeat to arsenal last Sunday.
With the game evenly poised at 1-1 with ten minutes remaining, 19-year-old defender Rice seemingly ducked under Welshman Aaron Ramsey’s cross, allowing the ball to nestle in the back of the net.
Moyes came down hard on Rice after the match, who set himself up for another uncomfortable Sunday evening after playing a key part in Manchester City's second goal at the London Stadium this weekend.
Former England international Merson slammed Moyes for his criticism of the young defender in his column in his Daily Star, writing: “David Moyes is still the right man for West Ham – even though he made a mistake digging out Declan Rice.
“I don’t like it when a manager does that to a young player, I think it’s wrong. You can do it in private in the dressing room. But Rice is 19. There’s no need. You couldn’t do it if it was an experienced pro because they wouldn’t have it. It would be a confrontation. But it’s easy to pick on a kid like Rice, isn’t it?”
“The young player makes a really poor mistake for the second goal. I hope he learns from it because he’s got big potential, but I think it really flattened the team.”— Off The Ball (@offtheball) April 22, 2018
West Ham manager David Moyes criticised Declan Rice's decision making at the Emirates Stadium.@BoyleSports pic.twitter.com/rT5RZWQPN7
The 50-year-old former Arsenal forward turned TV analyst, went on to question the club’s fan base, claiming that Moyes side are just about good enough to stay in England’s top flight.
“What do the fans want? Good football? You can only play good football if you have good players. Moyes knows that. The club needs to stay in the Premier League. Everything else comes second. The fans are always talking about “the West Ham way” but what is it?
“They’re talking about the 1960s when they had three World Cup winners in their team. How many times have they played like that since? They played “the West Ham way” one year and got relegated. With a much more talented side than this one. Is that what they want?”