Declan Rice added another string to his bow against Arsenal today after scoring his first senior goal for West Ham in their 1-0 victory.
Speaking on Sky Sports as he accepted his Man Of The Match award, the teenager revealed his team-mates had been encouraging him to take his chances in front of goal.
“I can’t put it into words. All the lads keep on at me to shoot, but I probably pick a pass,” he said.
“I thought, ‘why not take it on’, and it went in the top corner.
“Recently I’ve been getting myself into the box more and getting closer. I was gutted I missed the header just before half-time, but then managed to get the only goal of the game to beat Arsenal. It’s a special moment.”
Hammers captain Mark Noble was full of praise for the youngster and believes Rice is the perfect role model for young players.
“You could hear it from the fans as well (after the goal), it has been a really special six months for Declan, and has just signed a new contract with the club,” the midfielder said.
“I would be surprised if he sleeps tonight. He is a special talent and keeps working hard.”
West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini was also fullsome in his appreciation of Rice’s performance and believes he is becoming the “complete player”.
“He is improving in every game,” Pellegrini said on Sky Sports.
“He has showed good technique and good in aerial duels, I think we are seeing the complete player. At 19 years old, I am sure we will see a top, top player.”