DECLAN RICE is set to give West Ham and England a major boost by returning to action in Saturday’s vital clash with Brighton.
Rice has been out for a month after damaging his knee while playing for England in their World Cup qualifying win over Poland at the end of March.
But the midfielder is now back in full training and aiming to be available to David Moyes for the trip to the Amex Stadium.
The Hammers need to win to keep alive their slim Champions League qualifying hopes.
Moyes has admitted he is desperate to get Rice, 22, back.
But the player had to take his rehabilitation cautiously to ensure he did not risk his fitness ahead of the Euros this summer.
The recovery is understood to have gone well and Moyes expects to have his best player involved for the remaining three games of the season.
His return is also a welcome boost to England boss Gareth Southgate, who will name his squad for this summer’s tournament on May 25.
Elsewhere the Hammers are said to be hesitant about meeting Jesse Lingard's £100,000-a-week wage demands which could see him return to Manchester United.
The midfielder has been sensational since moving to the East Londoners on loan but his London Stadium stay could be a short one.
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Lingard's Man Utd contract does not expire until next summer.
And he is looking for a four-year, £100k-a-week deal to make the switch to West Ham during the next transfer window, according to the Mail.
But the Hammers are said to be unable to commit to such terms which could see the playmaker return to Old Trafford to see out the final year of his contract.
Lingard didn't play a single Premier League minute for United in the first half of the season.
But the England ace has bagged nine goals in 13 appearances for the Irons since his January loan and has forced his way back into Gareth Southgate's England team.
Hammers boss David Moyes - who worked with Lingard when he was Man Utd manager - has played a vital role in the 28-year-old's career revival and is desperate to sign him.
HESITANT TO COMMIT
But West Ham are said to be hesitant to commit to such a significant deal until they receive Government assurances about fans returning next season.
They also have highest earner Felipe Anderson returning from his loan at Porto at the end of the season and will have to start paying all of his £140k-a-week wages again.
And their ability to get the Brazilian off the books may also determine how much they can or cannot spend.
Michail Antonio signed a contract extension until 2023 before Christmas and club legend Mark Noble - who got pelted with flour and eggs on his birthday - got another year in March.
But all other player negotiations - including talks over a new deal for Moyes - are said to be on hold for now.
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