Thursday 28 Feb
Updated Thursday 28 Feb 23:27
First Team

Rice wins Young Player of the Year accolade at London Football Awards

Declan Rice

 

Declan Rice has scooped the Young Player of the Year Award at the London Football Awards 2019. 

Presented to the defensive midfielder by fellow West Ham Academy graduate and Club legend Tony Cottee, the 20-year-old saw off competition from Crystal Palace's Aaron-Wan Bisska, Arsenal's Matteo Guendouzi, Karlan Grant of Charlton Athletic and Eberechi Eze of Queens Park Rangers to lift the accolade at Battersea Evolution on Thursday evening. 

"It's a huge honour to be here tonight and it's very special for me to have this award in my hands," Rice said upon receiving the honour. 

"I want to say thank you to my manager, Manuel Pellegrini, for believing in me and trusting me this season, and giving me the opportunity. 

"I also want to thank my teammates and my family; my mum, dad, brothers, and girlfriend, because without them I wouldn't be here today."

It's a huge honour to be here tonight and it's very special for me to have this award in my hands. 

Declan Rice

Rice's recognition as the best player under 21-years-old in London continues a fantastic run for the Hammer, who has made 29 appearances for West Ham in all competitions this campaign. 

Rice's incredible form saw him rewarded with a new contract, until 2024, at the end of 2018, while the in-form talent marked his 20th birthday with a first goal in Claret and Blue, netting a brilliant strike in the 1-0 victory over Arsenal.

In receiving the honour, Rice is the first West Ham player to win at the London Football Awards since Dimitri Payet was named the Premier League Player of the Year in 2016. 

That same season, the Moore Family Foundation was honoured as the Community Project of the Year.

In its fifth year, the London Football Awards, sponsored by Toscafund, raises funds for former Arsenal goalkeeper and TV presenter, Bob Wilson OBE and his wife, Megs’ charity, Willow - the only national charity working with seriously ill young adults aged 16 to 40 to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days.