Rice: It’s an exciting time to be a West Ham player

Declan Rice celebrates at London Stadium


Signing a new long-term contract until 2024 notwithstanding, Declan Rice says the present is an exciting time to be a West Ham United player.

The Hammers have enjoyed a record-breaking December, winning five Premier League games out of six to collect a historic 15-point haul and rise to ninth in the table, with Sunday’s trip to Burnley still to play.

And Rice, who has not missed a minute of action this month, producing a succession of superb displays in a deep-lying central midfield role, believes West Ham’s recent improvement is just the start.

We’ve got players on fire and the manager has been excellent, so long may that continue

Declan Rice

“It’s really, really exciting,” said the No41, who put pen to paper on his new deal on Friday. “You could see from the performance on Thursday night [in the 2-1 win at Southampton] and the performances this season that we’re playing really attacking football now and giving the fans what they want.

“We’ve got players on fire and the manager has been excellent, so long may that continue.”

After a difficult start to the season on a personal level, when he was replaced at half-time in the opening-weekend defeat at Liverpool and not used in the next three Premier League fixtures, Rice has flourished in recent months.

The 19-year-old has not missed a single minute of top-flight action in the last 15 matches, helping the Hammers to eight wins and three draws to close out 2018 on a hugely positive note.

“We’ve picked up some unbelievable points, won five out of our last six and many of the players would have bitten your arm off for that many wins and that many points in December.

“Obviously we go again against Burnley and want to finish the year on a high and we go into next year positive and we want to keep pushing.”


Declan Rice was in impressive form in Thursday's win at Southampton


Rice himself recently passed the 50-appearance mark for the Irons and has seemingly cemented his position in front of the back four.

Despite his tender years, however, the Academy of Football graduate is already experienced enough to know he can take nothing for granted, and has vowed to keep working hard on every aspect of his game.

“I think the manager sees a responsibility in me. Obviously, I’ve got that defensive mindset so playing in that role just in front of the back four helps out the team and helps out the defenders.

“I’m loving every single minute of it, playing 90 minutes and learning so much week-in, week-out by playing against different opposition.

“It’s important for me that I keep learning and keep getting the minutes in because the experience I’m getting at the minute is key.”