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Rice: First-team success reward for hard work

6 Jun 2019

West Ham and England midfielder hoping to prove an inspiration to academy players

As Declan Rice lined up for England in their UEFA Nations League semi-final against the Netherlands on Thursday, an academy of young talent at West Ham United would be watching, knowing that his hard work has been rewarded. 

After making his Premier League debut on the final day of the 2016/17 season, the Hammers star has progressed in terms of appearances but also as a player.

After 26 PL matches in 2017/18, starting off as a defender, Rice moved to midfield. He appeared in all but four Premier League matches in in 2018/19.

His outstanding performances won him West Ham's Young Hammer of the Year and Players' Player of the Year awards and earned him an England debut in March. 

Still only 20, Rice says hard work led to his rise and knows he is an example for the next generation of talent coming through at West Ham. 

'Don't pass up the chance'

"Most of the academy lads are maybe looking up to me and thinking, 'That's where I want to go next,' " Rice said last year.

"That's what working hard does, and training well. It gets you into the first team and playing games.

"You're coming in to train for two hours. Don't pass up that chance to work hard and give everything, because that's what will get you in the side.

"The manager takes everything on board. He's always looking."

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