West Ham United: Hammers youngster Declan Rice reflects on ‘crazy’ period for club and country
PUBLISHED: 17:00 04 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:08 04 April 2018
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Teenager has been impressive throughout the entire campaign
West Ham United youngster Declan Rice admits it has been a crazy period for him, both with club and country.
The defender helped the Hammers keep a clean sheet in a 3-0 win at home to Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.
The teenager was also honoured for his contribution to the Republic of Ireland under-19 team and made his debut for the senior squad last month.
The past few weeks have continued Rice’s rapid rise to prominence this term, and the young defender can’t quite believe how things have gone.
“I don’t think I can quite sum it up,” the 19-year-old the club website.
“It’s been crazy to be honest. A crazy three weeks. I won international player of the year for Ireland under-19s, I won man of the match on my Ireland debut, and Saturday topped it off with 3-0 and a clean sheet (against Southampton).
“It was the first clean sheet we’ve had in a while and to win was a massive boost.”
While Rice performed well at the back, West Ham club colleague Marko Arnautovic was equally impressive in attack.
The forward netted twice in the first half against the Saints to continue his prolific run in front of goal under David Moyes.
The Austrian international is likely to be a frontrunner for this year’s Hammer of the Year award.
And Rice says Arnautovic is the most talented individual he has featured alongside in his fledgling career.
“He’s an unbelievable player,” he added. “He’s probably the best player I’ve played with, and he’s such a nice guy as well.
“He’s done it with Austria during the international break and he’s done it for us today. He’s a crucial part of our side.”
Arnautovic’s goals helped West Ham ease to a vital victory as they moved five points clear of the relegation zone, which pleased Rice no end.
“As you can see on my face, I’m over the moon. Today was special and we needed those three points,” he said.
“That puts us five points ahead of Southampton and we need to build on that now.”