Declan Rice was filmed in a heartwarming exchange after West Ham‘s surprise win over Manchester United on Sunday. Praise subsequently poured in for the sought-after midfielder, who broke a promise to Marcus Rashford by giving his shirt to an overwhelmed supporter after the final whistle.
As he has been for much of this season, Rice was one of the best players on the pitch for the Hammers as they shocked United at the London Stadium. Said Benrahma’s first-half effort proved to be the only goal in a 1-0 win, although David de Gea will be haunted by his error, which saw the ball trickle beyond his right arm and into the net.
After the win, which moved West Ham seven points clear of the relegation zone with three matches to play, Rice shared a heartfelt moment with an emotional young fan.
The Hammers captain admitted to the youngster, who was crying in the video, that he had just promised Rashford his shirt. “Don’t show them lot,” he added. “I’ve just told them I’m going to give it to Rashford, but I’ll give them another one. Here you go…”
With the footage posted to social media by the supporter’s father, Rice commented on Twitter: “Seeing your boy made my night. This is what it’s all about! It would be a pleasure to sign [the shirt] for you.”
Rice has played the full 90 minutes in all bar one Premier League match this season, cementing himself as West Ham’s leader in their push to avoid relegation, which looks set to be successful.
The 24-year-old has notched three goals and two assists in the league this term, but his all-round play and leadership qualities are the key selling points as top clubs circle, with a deal in excess of £100million expected to materialise during the summer transfer window.
Arsenal are believed to be firmly in the running, and a wave of fans commented on the footage of Rice with the young Hammers fan, pleading with him to join Mikel Arteta at the Emirates. Meanwhile Rashford, who presumably had to make do without his opposite number’s shirt, drew blank again on Sunday as his mid-season purple patch fades further into memory.
The Red Devils forward has been chasing his 30th goal of the season in all competitions for the past three games, but Erik ten Hag’s side have lost momentum at a potentially key moment, with Liverpool still in the hunt for a top-four place.
Rashford went on a sparkling streak of 16 goals in 17 games following the World Cup, but he has now notched only two in his last 10 outings as United search for another source of goals to carry them through to the end of the campaign.