West Ham United’s Declan Rice has won the Premier League 2 Player of the Month for October.
The 18-year-old was chosen not only for his performances representing the Hammers’ under-23s, but for his display against Tottenham Hotspur in the Carabao Cup as well as one appearance in the Premier League, against Crystal Palace.
Rice, even at such a tender age, is an established member of Terry Westley’s under-23 side, captaining them to Premier League 2 Play-off glory last season before leading the side to the London Stadium win over Manchester United and a well-earned goalless draw at Chelsea during this latest month.
“It’s a great moment for me to win Premier League 2 Player of the Month!” Rice said.
“I’ve been playing well recently and played well last season – I thought I was unlucky not to win it then! But I’m happy to pick up for this month, October.
“I owe the coaches massively, I owe Slaven [Bilic] obviously for giving me that game time against Tottenham – that was a big part of me winning this award. But Terry [Westley] and Liam [Manning] have been great as well. When I’ve gone back down to play with them, they haven’t changed one bit and credit to them for that.”
The Irishman, capped internationally at under-21 level, was nominated alongside players from Arsenal, Manchester City, Derby County, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Wolves and was clearly delighted to have been chosen as the top player.
“It makes me feel special, there was a load of other good players up for the award but luckily I was the pick of the bunch, so I’m happy!” he said.
Rice was the only player nominated to have featured in the Premier League after he replaced Jose Fonte during the Hammers’ 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace but it was his performance at Wembley Stadium against Spurs which he admits was his best game in October.
“I still can’t get over that game, how we managed to get the win but it was a great result and a great day for me.”
As well as thanking his coaches, Rice explained how he has never enjoyed his football as much he does right now, placing significant importance on that aspect of his game.
“Its key, you’ve got to enjoy what you do because football doesn’t last long. You’ve got to come in, be happy and enjoy your football and that’s what I’m doing with the lads. It’s working.”
West Ham United's Premier League 2 team are next in action when they host Derby County at London Stadium on Friday 17 November. Tickets are free for Season Ticket Holders and Claret Members - click here for full ticket information.