Has the new John Terry, Declan Rice, played his way into Slaven Bilic's side at West Ham?

Slaven Bilic, Manager of West Ham United gives his team instructions during a Pre Season Friendly between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Laugardalsvollur stadium on August 4,...

There have not been many positives to take from West Ham United's pre-season matches.

Slaven Bilic's side have looked unfit and out of form during the build up to the new Premier League season.

The last two games saw the Hammers draw 3-3 with a German fourth tier team before a 3-0 hiding at the hands of Manchester City which could have been many more.

While results don't matter in pre-season, the club's only win has come against Fulham 2-1.

Slaven Bilic, Manager of West Ham United gives his team instructions during a Pre Season Friendly between Manchester City and West Ham United at the Laugardalsvollur stadium on August 4,...

The club's new signings Pablo Zabaleta, Joe Hart, Marko Arnautovic and Javier Hernandez have been slowly bedding in.

But it is academy graduate Declan Rice who has been the biggest positive.

West Ham's defence is ageing with Jose Fonte and James Collins turning 34 this season and Zabaleta turning 33 while Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna both have questionable injury records too.

So the emergence of the 18-year-old Rice - who has already been called up by Ireland to train with Martin O'Neill's first team squad - has come at the perfect time.

While the equally promising and arguably more talented Reece Oxford has been shipped out on loan to Germany, Rice, a year below him has been included in Bilic's plans for the first team.

And it is easy to see why. Amid all the mediocrity on show from West Ham against Manchester City Rice was the standout player.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08:Declan Rice of West Ham United U21 attempts to control the ball under pressure from Joe Iaciofano of Northampton Towen  during the EFL Checkatrade Trophy...

Reading the game, showing confidence, strength, determination, leadership and a will to win Rice was nothing short of a revelation.

Whisper it quietly because he is not the most popular figure in East London but the young Irishman has the hallmarks of another former West Ham academy product.... one John Terry.

Terry left for Chelsea at the age of 14 to play with his friends. But Rice has come in the other direction and is here to stay.

Don't be surprised if he is a first team regular by Christmas.

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