Declan Rice was thrown in at the deep end by West Ham manager David Moyes for Thursday night’s visit to Tottenham – but the defender more than held his own.
With Aaron Cresswell sidelined through injury, Hammers boss David Moyes put the-year-old in his three-man defence at Wembley, with the daunting task of keeping the in-form Harry Kane quiet entrusted on the youngster.
It’s fair to say that Rice more than delivered – as did fellow centre-backs Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna – as it took a brilliant long-range strike from Son Heung-Min with just over five minutes remaining to give Spurs their only goal and a share of the points in North London.
Throughout and after the game, the Ireland under-21 earned major plaudits for his part in helping West Ham come away with a very impressive draw:
How good was Declan Rice tonight!? pic.twitter.com/ZX1mmDfNVp
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) January 4, 2018
Another impressive hour put in by Declan Rice.
Stays on his feet for as long as possible and has a good understanding of when to step out, get tight, or drop off. Comfortable. pic.twitter.com/8RiKOhSHnv
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) January 4, 2018
Declan Rice was superb, man of the match for me we have a real prospect here.
— J.Steel.WHU (@BecontreeHammer) January 4, 2018
As resolute a performance as you will see, wasn’t pretty at times but you have to give huge credit to the players. Declan Rice looks a class act and Masuaku’s ability for Ayew’s chance in the second half was unreal, never had that in the locker! ?⚒ #TOTWHU
— Matthew Etherington (@mattyethers) January 4, 2018
Thought @AdriSanMiguel dealt with many difficult shots well. @ArthurMasuaku provided a real outlet for us and once again @_DeclanRice continues to defy his age and be so composed and solid at centre back. As I keep saying at 18 this lad has so much potential ⚒
— ExWHUemployee (@ExWHUemployee) January 4, 2018
Declan Rice. What a genuine talent
— Green St. Hammers (@GreenStHammers) January 4, 2018
Tell you what @_DeclanRice what a baller! Didn’t put a foot wrong tonight what a bright future he has! ⚒⚒⚒⚒
— West Ham Group (@WestHamGroup) January 4, 2018
Massive, massive credit to Declan Rice tonight. He was absolutely brilliant the whole game, and he has certainly made a statement.
— West Ham Fan Zone (@WHUFCFZ) January 4, 2018
— Moore Than A Club (@MooreThanAClub) January 4, 2018
— Ryan Mc ⚒ (@rimzie84) January 4, 2018
When 18-year-old Declan Rice gets home and empties his pockets…
— Ladbrokes (@Ladbrokes) January 4, 2018
Even when Cresswell returns, there are likely to be calls for Moyes to keep Rice in the team for the foreseeable future.