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Rice: I've shown youngsters hard work will pay off

21 Nov 2018

West Ham teenager believes his success in first team can inspire club's next generation

Declan Rice hopes his rise to West Ham United's first team will be an inspiration to players in the club's academy, showing them hard work on the training ground pays off.

The 19-year-old was given his Premier League debut in May 2017 and has gone on to make 36 top-flight appearances, and 44 in all competitions.

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

'Don't pass up chance'

"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."

'Crazy feeling'

Rice has high hopes for West Ham's next generation, of which Grady Diangana is the latest to graduate to the first team.

"We've got a great group coming through," he says. "It's down to them and down to us to get ourselves in the team and fight, because I know we've got the product and we've got the players.

"Growing up watching West Ham, a massive club with a massive fanbase, I know how much it means to all the fans and for me and my family to put on the shirt and play every week for West Ham United.

"It's a crazy feeling to be honest, I can't put it into words."

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