Wednesday 29 Jun
Updated Wednesday 29 Jun 11:00
West Ham Tv

Rice signs new contract

  • Rice signs three-year contract

  • The talented defender won the Dylan Tombides award last season

  • Rice hopes to make a breakthrough into the first-team squad

West Ham United are delighted to announce that highly-rated defender Declan Rice has signed his first professional contract with the Club.

Rice, 17, has been one of the star performers in the Academy and made his breakthrough into the Development Squad where he played his part in helping Terry Westley's side win the U21 Premier League Cup last season.

The talented defender was rewarded for his impressive displays when he won the prestigious Dylan Tombides award and has now agreed a three-year deal to stay with the east London Club.

Rice says he is thrilled to be part of the Club's future as they prepare for a historic move into the new Stadium and hopes to follow in the footsteps of Reece Oxford and become the next big star to make his breakthrough into the first-team.

Rice said: “It is an amazing feeling to sign a three-year deal with West Ham and it is exciting to be part of the Club as we move into the new Stadium.

“I have gone from a scholarship to signing a professional contract and it has all happened within the space of six months as I was playing so well.

“With the players that West Ham are now attracting, it is amazing to train with the first-team and hopefully I can be a part of it next season.

“I am so happy that Reece and Josh Cullen have broken into the first-team. Hopefully I can follow in their footsteps and impress Slaven Bilic during the pre-season.

“Slaven and his backroom staff give so much advice to the younger players and help them out a great deal and I love the chance to train with the first-team.

“We have had a number of great defenders like Bobby Moore, Rio Ferdinand and Slaven and I would love to achieve what they did.”

Rice says he will never forget an emotional 24 hours back in May when he won the Dylan Tombides award and then made his way up to Hull to the following day and helped the Development Squad record a famous victory to win the competition.

Rice added: “It was probably one of the best weeks of my life and I was proud of what I achieved.

“When Terry said I was going to the Awards dinner I had no idea that I was going to win anything. I heard that Dylan was a top player so it was fantastic to pick up the award.

“I loved every minute of the final and it was great to get the win on penalties. We stuck together and had an amazing team spirit.”