Declan Rice’s hopes of playing for England at this summer’s Euros are in major doubt after he suffered a knee injury that could yet require surgery.
The midfielder picked up the knock whilst playing in the Three Lions’ win over Poland last week.
He will miss West Ham’s visit to Wolves tonight and is expected to be out for a minimum of three weeks.
It is a major set back for the Hammers who are still chasing the top four following an excellent season.
Rice has been integral to their impressive campaign and West Ham believe the worst case scenario will see him sidelined for six weeks, reports The Guardian.
However, the 22-year-old has been wearing a protective brace to limit the damage and the Hammers are still waiting for the swelling to go down before being able to give a full diagnosis.
As such, there is a possibility that the injury may be more severe than first thought – and which could ultimately lead to Rice going under the knife.
Gareth Southgate has made Rice a mainstay of his midfield and he was almost guaranteed to start for England this summer.
The Three Lions boss has been vocal in his praise which makes the injury blow all the more concerning.
“He’s a fantastic player to work with and he really wants to learn and to improve,” Southgate said recently.
“To be captain of his club at such a young age tells you all you need to know really about his personality and his character.”
“He’s played some good qualifiers for us now as well, so we’re building those experiences with him and he’s been a very important player for us over the last couple of years.”
Rice’s composure at the base of midfield is a huge asset for both his club and his country.
His ability to break up play but also start attacks has attracted plenty of admiring glances over the past two years.
Manchester United and Chelsea are both keen on the midfielder, who in fact started his career at Stamford Bridge before being released.