Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has jumped to the defence of West Ham contract rebel Declan Rice.
The 19-year-old is becoming an increasingly prominent figure at the club but has just two years remaining on his current deal at the London Stadium.
But reports suggest Rice has turned down a contract offer worth £12,000-a-week, four times what the teenager currently earns.
West Ham fans have criticised Rice for not accepting the offer but Carragher - who represented Liverpool between 1996 and 2013 - says the youngster is right to hold out for a bigger contract.
“I thought it was a bit out of order from some of the callers saying Rice was getting too big for his boots or he’s got to be careful about this or that," he told Talksport.
“But to be honest I look at him and it’s not just Declan Rice, it’s every young player who comes through at a Premier League club or any club always have to be seen to be grateful they’re playing and they can’t just ask for a bit more money.
“If there was a young foreign player signed from abroad there’d be no questions about what they deserve.
“I felt it when I was playing that because I was a local lad at Liverpool I had to be seen to be grateful.
“Local players coming through at their football clubs are definitely treated differently financially.
“This is a lad who could be West Ham’s main man over the next five or six years so I think it’s unfair he gets the criticism for not accepting the first offer he’s given.”
Sky Sports report West Ham are confident an agreement will be struck to keep Rice beyond the end of his contract which expires in 2020.
Talks have been ongoing between Rice and the East Londoners since April but amid Manuel Pellegrini's recent reliance on the player, there is no sign of there being a breakthrough in negotiations.
Rice played the full 90 minutes as West Ham claimed their first home point of the season to end Chelsea's 100 per cent record in the Premier League following a 0-0 draw last Sunday.
Discontent regarding Rice's West Ham future comes amid uncertainty over his international allegiance, with both England and the Republic of Ireland duelling for his services.