Declan Rice believes West Ham can become a “big team” and promised to add more goals to his game after scoring in Sunday’s 4-1 win at Aston Villa.
Rice grabbed the second goal and made an assist as David Moyes’ men won on the road again to move level with champions Man City in joint third place. Ben Johnson’s early goal was cancelled out by Ollie Watkins, but Rice restored the lead before Pablo Fornals and Jarrod Bowen scored late on.
England international Rice wants the Hammers to keep their foot on the gas after he scored his fourth goal of the season for club and country.
Rice has responded to Moyes’ plea to add more goals to his game.
“He’s got a great shot on him which we’d like him to introduce to his game if we can get him in the right positions more often,” said Moyes last month.
And the 22-year-old delivered at Villa Park with an angled shot from outside of the box which beat Emi Martinez in the Villa goal.
“We are joint third,” said Rice. “The big question people asked before the season was whether we could do it again after qualifying for Europe. We’ve found out we can.
“But there are still a lot more games to go. This is the level, the standard. We can’t drop if we want to be a big team.
“I can definitely add [goals] to my game, I have four this season. It doesn’t get better with the feeling of scoring a goal.
“We won 4-1 but we were so sloppy in the second half. We gave the ball away so much. The manager won’t be happy. There were times we could have countered and gave it away.”
Moyes paid tribute to Rice, despite his lowly years.
‘Rice has improved greatly’
“Declan is at a very good level for someone so young,” said Moyes. “He has a big responsibility and he has improved greatly.
“Let’s hope it continues. We asked last year if he could bring goals and other actions to his game and he has. We are very pleased for him.
“A manager’s job is to try to raise expectations but without saying silly things, but it’s a pretty good time to judge [teams] after 10 games. The big thing for me is that none of them think we have done it already. There is still a long way to go.”
Gary Lineker has also praised Rice after West Ham’s win over Villa.
What an excellent side @WestHam have become. Good in all areas and David Moyes deserves enormous credit for getting them in this position. Many good performances with @_DeclanRice magnificent again, and he’s still only 22. 👏🏻👏🏻
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) October 31, 2021