After making his full debut for the England national team in Monday's 5-1 victory over Montenegro, West Ham's Declan Rice has come in for praise from his chairman David Gold.
Rice has endured a somewhat turbulent introduction to his England career. The midfielder has faced criticism over his initial decision to represent the Republic of Ireland at international level, before switching to his allegiances to the Three Lions earlier this year.
However, the West Ham owner has come out in full support of his employee and insisted that his experiences so far will only make him a better player and has tipped him to one day wear the armband for his country.
As quoted by The Sun, he said: "The West Ham fans are craving a new hero and they’ve got one in Declan. He is special, no question about it. He is an England captain of the future in my mind".
Gold claims that he was reminded of one particular former West Ham and England player, as he lauded the 20 year-old: "He has a long way to go for sure but there are similarities between Declan and Bobby Moore.
"Declan is calm, assured. He floats like Bobby Moore did. I also noticed that it didn’t take him long to be yelling at more senior players during the game."
Just a few days prior to the Montenegro game, the young midfielder came under further scrutiny after the resurfacing of IRA-related tweets he had sent several years ago.
Defending the young player, co-owner Gold said "I get it why the tweets were big news. It’s a tetchy subject. But now we move on, it’s over. West Ham fans won’t be interested in silly comments from a silly young man in his teens."
Despite a successful debut for England, Rice will likely be looking forward to refocussing his attention on the Premier League, when his side face Everton on Saturday evening. With just two points separating the sides, the Hammers will be looking to pick up another win and continue their fight for a seventh place finish.