David Moyes feels Declan Rice is not only West Ham's best midfielder but arguably their best centre-half as well.
England international Rice, who played three times for the Republic of Ireland senior team, began his career in defence but has been a mainstay of the Hammers' midfield since breaking into the team two seasons ago.
The 21-year-old had to slot back into his old position against Wolves on Saturday following an injury to Angelo Ogbonna, and his composed display was one of very few bright spots in the 2-0 defeat.
Ogbonna is battling to be fit to face Tottenham on Tuesday night, but Moyes may be tempted to stick with Rice regardless.
"Declan could arguably be my best centre-half and best midfielder so we have to try and see what we have got, who is fit and available and use him the best we can," said the Hammers boss.
"We know he can give us something else in midfield, but he showed he is also defensively sound when he goes into the backline.
"He has improved so much, so going forward for himself and for us it is a great thing to have."
With West Ham in the thick of the relegation battle there remains speculation linking Rice with a move elsewhere, especially if they do go down.
"He would be vital anyway," added Moyes. "He is a West Ham player, I want him to stay a West Ham player for a long time and our intention is to stay in the Premier League so nothing is crossing my mind about being in another league."