Soccer-West Ham's Rice sidelined with knee ligament injury

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - World Cup Qualifiers Europe - Group I - Albania v England - Arena Kombetare, Tirana, Albania - March 28, 2021 England's Declan Rice reacts REUTERS/Florion Goga

(Reuters) - West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice could be out of action for a month due to a knee ligament injury sustained on England duty, the Premier League club said.

The 22-year-old picked up the issue late in England's 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Poland at Wembley last Wednesday but managed to finish the game.

Rice was absent for West Ham's 3-2 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, the first league game he has missed all season, and local media reported he could be out for a month.

"It was a rather innocuous challenge which has caused the injury but unfortunately these things happen in football," West Ham's head of medical services Richard Collinge said.

"Declan has approached the situation positively and in an exemplary manner, which is no surprise to us, while he's in peak physical condition and we hope that will assist with his return to action."

Rice has been a key figure in West Ham's transformation this season with his performances helping the club rise to fourth place and attracting the attention of some of the Premier League's heavyweights.

He has also taken on a leadership role in the absence of club captain Mark Noble and manager David Moyes said he was disappointed to lose the services of his midfield mainstay.

"We know we're missing a good player but the team has been playing really well this year," Moyes said.

"It gives other people opportunities and that's what squads are for and hopefully we have got the squad to deal with it."

West Ham trail third-placed Leicester City by four points but could make up ground when they host Brendan Rodgers' side on Sunday.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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