West Ham: David Moyes hails Declan Rice in ‘terrific’ win as he admits to post-celebration doubts
David Moyes hailed West Ham’s “terrific” victory over Leeds on Sunday but refused to be drawn on Declan Rice’s future following what was expected to be the midfielder’s final home game.
Rice is set to be sold this summer, with Arsenal strong favourites for his signature and West Ham hoping to command a British transfer record fee of more than £100million.
The 24-year-old marked the occasion, six years on from his debut, by starting the Irons’ comeback from a goal down to win 3-1, having been named the club’s Hammer of the Year ahead of kick-off.
Following the traditional post-match lap of appreciation, Rice embarked on a second solo lap applauding the home fans but when asked whether his captain had signed off in style, Moyes said only: “Declan played very well today. He’s been playing well all season, he scored a really good goal. He played well, he’s a very, very good footballer.”
Moyes paid tribute to his team after they made light of a short turnaround from Thursday night’s historic win at AZ Alkmaar to compound Leeds’ relegation worries.
The Scot made six changes to the XI that had started the 1-0 win in the Netherlands, which saw the Hammers reach their first major European final since 1976, and was rewarded with three points as goals from Rice, Jarrod Bowen and Manuel Lanzini responded to Rodrigo’s opener.
“It was terrific,” Moyes said. “After the week we’ve had, you’re never quite sure how the players will be after a Thursday game, turning up to play on a Sunday. In the opening 15 minutes, I thought, ‘I’m not so sure’.
“We showed great character, great mentality because we had a terrific win there in midweek. It was easier coming back to play at home than it would have been away but a terrific victory in the end. A hard-fought one, but a deserved one.”