Declan Rice is just getting better and better, isn’t he?
The West Ham youngster has become an integral member of Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham side this season, and finally netted his first goal for the side in their 1-0 win over Arsenal today.
The goal certainly comes at a good time for the 19-year-old.
His 20th birthday is just days away, so netting in today’s game means he’s just managed to squeeze into a rather exclusive club of teenagers who’ve scored in the Premier League for the Hammers.
What’s most exciting is that he’s in great company; rubbing shoulders with a number of former England internationals and Premier League legends.
Out of the 10 teens on the list, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Joe Cole and Jermain Defoe are the most eye-catching, as all of whom went onto enjoy brilliant careers and win multiple caps for England.
On the flip-side, Freddie Sears and Junior Stanislas are perhaps two names who didn’t quite fulfil their potential, while Dani is the only non-Englishman – with the former Portuguese international scoring in 1996 while on-loan from Sporting Lisbon.
Mark Noble is the only player on the list who’s still playing for West Ham, having become a fan favourite and club captain since scoring his first goal back in 2007.
It was truly a brilliant day for Rice.
Not only did he score the winner, but he was brilliant in his defensive midfield role and gave Arsenal all sorts of problems in the middle of the park.
After the game, Jack Wilshere was full of praise for his Hammers teammate in the Sky Sports studio, saying: “I’m trying to think of a defensive midfielder in the Premier League who does it better than him.
“I’m not saying he’s the best in the league because he’s got a long way to go, but he’s on the right track. His reading of the game, his maturity and today I saw a bit more – he wanted to go forward more and he can bring that to his game.”
Rice will certainly be on the radar of the league’s elite clubs in the summer; notably Man City, who are in the market for a new defensive midfielder.
But having signed a new long-term contract with the Hammers just after Christmas, it will certainly take a lot to tempt the local lad away from the London Stadium.
His future’s certainly bright.
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