Saturday 20 July 2019

Declan Rice urged to try his luck in front of goal more often

Rice scored his first goal in his 55th appearance.

Declan Rice is off the mark for West Ham (Yui Mok/PA)
Declan Rice is off the mark for West Ham (Yui Mok/PA)

By Andy Sims, Press Association Sport

Declan Rice revealed how his West Ham team-mates have been urging him to try his luck in front of goal after he finally opened his account against Arsenal.

Midfielder Rice, who turns 20 on Monday, grabbed his first career goal on his 55th appearance for the Hammers.

It was a vital strike, too, tucking away Samir Nasri’s lay-off three minutes after half-time to secure a 1-0 win in front of a record crowd of 59,946 at the London Stadium.

“I can’t put it into words,” Rice told the club’s website. “I think you could see on my face how much it meant to me.

“And the way the team celebrated, how much it meant to them for me to score as well, as they’ve all been on at me to score and start shooting more.

“To get the three points, to beat Arsenal and for me to score is unbelievable.

“Samir set it back and I knew I was in the box but I didn’t really know where the goal was because I was stood side-on. It was a clean strike, a clean connection and there were a lot of bodies in the way and it went right into the top corner.

“You could see from the celebration I probably didn’t know what to do, but I’m delighted!”

For Arsenal it was a fifth defeat of the season which dented their top-four aspirations, and they have won just four of their 11 matches on the road this season.

But captain Laurent Koscielny told the club website: “We don’t think about that. We take it game after game.

“We worked well during the week to prepare and we had the ambition to get the three points. But in football you don’t know, you have your opponent and I think they played well with quality.

“We need to keep our confidence and continue to work together, and the results will come.”

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