West Ham United youngster Declan Rice has insisted that he and his teammates must “bounce back in a way that is pleasing for the fans,” from last Sunday’s season-opening 4-0 defeat to Liverpool away from home.
The 19-year-old was hauled off at half-time at Anfield by Manuel Pellegrini, taking charge of the Hammers for the first time, after a testing 45 minutes and admitted the difficulty of it, but also the desire of him and the entire club to right the wrong, when speaking to West Ham’s official website WHUFC.com.
“Liverpool was a really tough game, we know that, and we’re all training, for me, personally, I came off at half-time at Anfield. It was a tough game and I know I can play better than I showed,” proclaimed the full Republic of Ireland International.
“I’ve been training really well this week and we’ve got two more sessions until Saturday’s game. I just want to keep improving and keep showing the manager that I’m the right man to play.
“It’s really important that we bounce back in a way that is pleasing for the home fans this Saturday against Bournemouth. We want to succeed this weekend and get our first three points on the table.”
Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are the first visitors of the campaign to London Stadium on Saturday afternoon, a match that offers the Irons the opportunity to make up for such a crushing defeat.
Rice had this to say about the matchup in the same Interview:
“It’s really important for us to get a good result. The Club has spent a lot of money this summer and the fans want to see a return on that investment. We want to do just that.
“We want to win for them, go out there and impress, and get the three points to kick-start our season.”
The Academy graduate who made over 30 first-team appearances under Slaven Bilic and David Moyes last season, started in central midfield for one of the first times competitively at the weekend.
Rice is more accustomed to a centre-back role and found it hard to adapt against such a stern test as the Reds, along with the rest of the starting team that day, which involved no fewer than five new signings.
The Irishman, who has been linked with a switch of International allegiance to England, struggled with positioning, often leaving his partner, captain Mark Noble to face up to a formidable midfield three of Gini Wijnaldum, Naby Keita and James Milner, on his own.
It was clear to see that it just wasn’t Rice’s half whatsoever, being overwhelmed every time he did see the ball, unable to pick out passes and go on the impressive meandering runs that we usually see from him.
This was believed to be one of the reasons for him being substituted for Robert Snodgrass at the break, coming off at half-time for the second time in his career, after last August’s 3-0 loss to Newcastle United at St James’ Park, when Bilic was the manager.
However, the move did very little to stem the tide of Liverpool dominance on Merseyside, with the score already 2-0 by that stage, thanks to strikes from two of the so-called “Fab Three,” Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
The latter of those two names added his second just six minutes into the second period, with substitute Daniel Sturridge popping up at the far post to deliver a fourth, in the dying embers.
Although Pellegrini’s men and Rice in his new role will not be judged on one result and one performance, the pressure is on for them to get it right against a lower quality of position in two days’ time.
The Cherries come to London Stadium in good form, fresh from dispatching Cardiff City 2-0 on the opening day at the Vitality Stadium and buoyed by two good displays in their two visits to the ground so far.
With close to £100 million spent in the summer and Season Tickets sold out once again in East London, there will undoubtedly be a full house in Stratford, one fully expecting a promised bounce-back result and performance from Rice and their new Claret & Blue heroes.