West Ham win in return to Europe
David Moyes’ storied revival of West Ham continued tonight when the Hammers ran out 2-0 winners against Croatian giant Dinamo Moscow at the Stadion Maksimir, in a triumphant return to Europe after a five-year absence. Goals from in-form striker Michail Antonio and England youngster Declan Rice sealed all three points on either side of the break, as West Ham began play in Group H away from the London Stadium.
22 – At 22 years and 245 days, Declan Rice is West Ham's youngest goalscorer in major European competition since Frank Lampard netted against NK Osijek in the 1999-00 UEFA Cup (21y 88d). Footsteps. pic.twitter.com/ITHO0UfyKv
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) September 16, 2021
But it was Rice that stole the headlines, when the 22-year-old became the youngest West Ham player to find the back of the net on a European night since England icon Frank Lampard (21 years/88 days) scored against another Croatian club – NK Osijek – during the 1999-00 UEFA Cup campaign.
Rice continues to cement his stature in England amid potential Chelsea return
Tonight proved another offering in a career that has taken Declan Rice to the top of the pyramid for England under Gareth Southgate, while his star continues to rise on the domestic front.
The Kingston upon Thames-native spent eight years in Chelsea’s Cobham academy before being prised away by the Hammers, who finalized his education before Rice made his debut for the club in 2016-17, and subsequently made a full breakthrough into the first team in 2017-18.
As of tonight, the 22-year-old has featured 150-times for West Ham in his young but already impressive career, while being capped by England on twenty-six occasions (and scoring twice), which included influential displays in a midfield tandem alongside Kalvin Phillips that pushed the Three Lions to the finals of Euro 2020 this past summer.
Rice has become a mainstay at the London Stadium, but has long been linked with interest from Chelsea, who look to perpetrate a return for the former youth talent.
Manchester United have also put their name in the Rice sweepstakes, as the club have earmarked him as their principle target on next summer’s shopping list.
A night like tonight is one to remember for the budding England star, but it also serves as a reminder that while West Ham have done brilliantly to push up the pyramid under David Moyes, a talent of Rice’s ability and potential will always draw the eye of the biggest fish.
This article was edited by Conor Laird.