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2021-2022-Season

#PLStories – #DavidMoyes appreciates statue of the greats from 1965 and believes it will help in transition from #UptonPark Stadium #WHUFC

David Moyes

Rapid Vienna have had a difficult start to the season do you see this as an opportunity to take control of the group?

David Moyes (DM): I see it as a really important game, it is our first home game back in Europe and it is what we worked really hard for last season. So we are going into it and treating it like every other game.

Obviously, Vienna have not started in the league as they might have liked but they have European experience over longer periods [than West Ham] and we are new to it so they are a bit more experienced but the form the squad are in and how well we are doing I am confident and positive we can get a good result.

Declan we have seen promising signs if you going forward this season has that been a real focus of yours?

Declan Rice (DR): Definitely. They are conversations me and the manager have had, and me and a couple of the players. I feel like I can keep adding to my game, I have the ability to keep adding to my game, keep going forward, keep making passes and I know for sure I can definitely score more.

It is just about getting myself into that area of the pitch but also offering that protection for the team as well. I need to keep improving, of course. I like this role I’m playing where I’m defending, but I can go forward knowing that Tomas is behind me as well.

 

David, can we have some team news, please?

DM: Ryan Fredericks is not available through injury and we have a bit of doubt about Vladimir Coufal as well but apart from that we are hoping most people are available and fit. I have a really good squad to pick from who are all keen and available to play so we have a good feeling about the team and are already to go again.

Does it frustrate you that some people still think you can only go sideways and do the defensive side?

DR: As players, you always see what people have got to say but someone like me that sees that I don’t really take it as criticism – I see and I think I’m going to prove that person wrong. The manager knows what I can do, I feel like this season I have gone up to a new level in that way, in terms of I’m progressing the ball forward much more.

It’s not that I don’t like to play forward, it sometimes, if the game is going back and forth, sometimes it’s good to keep some passing sideways and keep it going and keep the ball ticking over so to be honest with you I think playing it simple is not a bad thing and of course you need to recognise as a player when you can go forward and when you can settle it down and slow the tempo down.

Do you pay attention to the criticism??

DR: Yeah of course. If it is from the right person who is giving me advice or stuff to work on you are always going to take it on board because it is from a different angle. People who aren’t around 24/7 or don’t really know the game as well you look at it and put it to one side. It is important to get criticised as a player as well because you’re never going to be perfect and if you never get criticised how are you going to learn so in terms of that part of my game I don’t mind taking it on the chin when I get told off.

How big of an occasion will the game tomorrow be?

DM: It is incredibly exciting. It is an achievement that the players put an enormous amount of work in last season to get to this stage and now we’ve got here and I hope it is something the supporters really enjoy. We’ll have a huge crowd here tomorrow night for a group stage Europa League game. We’re really looking forward to it. Players are in good form and good spirits.

You’ve rejected contract offers and big clubs want you, but West Ham are on the up – can you be convinced long-term future is here?

DR: We’ve spoken about it lots in the past. Everyone knows how I feel about West Ham and I feel about playing under the manager and what it’s like playing with the group of players I’m playing with. I feel you can see in my performances nothing’s up, nothing’s concerning me.

I’m playing with a smile on my face, I’m going out there, I’m leading the team. I think you could see a difference if I wasn’t going out there and giving 100% but every time I’m putting on the shirt – I’ve got the armband on at the moment – my only objective is to go out there and give everything for the club and get three points. With tomorrow night on the horizon, the only thought on my mind is to go out there and put on a performance for the fans and get the win.

David, do you ever have to worry about Declan’s attitude?

DM: Not at all because he’s such a good player. I don’t like saying it in front of him but he’s arguably one of the best young midfield players in Europe, if not the best. If you’re in that position every time he plays he’s got a responsibility for himself. He plays for England.

Every time he turns out he has to play really well. There’s pressure on him enough. He gets told off enough by me as well, so he has to live with that as well. But overall we’re really happy with Declan and what he does. His performances have been excellent and I hope it continues.

West Ham unveiled the statue of the greats from 1965, Moore, Hurst, and Peters.Is that another inspiration to you and the club?

DM: I think it’s a great thing the club have done. The move from Upton Park was always a difficult one but I think the players and everybody at the club are trying to make it as welcoming a place as we can.

The statue is terrific. we’ve just seen it and it’s really good. If we can start to pull things together at the club I think it will help. The team is doing well, we are in Europe and we want to keep that level going and I think the club are doing everything they possibly can to make that happen.

Declan, how exciting for you is it to be in Europe?

DR: It’s only really started to hit me now how special that night was in Zagreb. We were in a European competition for me and a lot of players for the first time and it was just special.

To get the win, to score and have the fans there to celebrate for us was a really big achievement, but it means nothing if we don’t go out there tomorrow night and get three points. We really want to top this group and that’s the objective.

Do you enjoy and thrive off the fans and the atmosphere, particularly away from home?

DR: Definitely. It’s all part and parcel I think. When we go away to places like Leeds and their fans are giving you stick and you score and get an assist and you always want to celebrate. That’s kind of what it was like in Zagreb.

It was a massive night and I scored and just got caught up in it and fancied the celebration and pretty much the same with England. It was just a real good buzz to have everyone there to witness what we did. I don’t really plan the celebrations, but if I get really worked up and buzzed up about things, I probably would celebrate.

How do you feel about going into the game as favorites and do you remember the last footballer from Vienna to score for West Ham, Marko Arnautovic?

DM: We go into this game I’m sure as favourites, but I give Rapid Vienna big respect as we do all clubs. We’ve watched them closely and have been out to watch the games in Austria as well so we’ll give them all the respect.

They have more experience than us in Europe in recent times, so we have to be really careful of that.

It is a game we are really looking forward to, the players worked really hard to get into Europe and we only missed out on the Champions League by maybe two points last year so we feel as if we want to do well in the Europa League if possible.

And yes Marko is a huge favourite at the club, he is a huge favourite with me as I saw him as a bit of a challenge and I was looking forward to managing him. He did great for me, he is a great player, strength, power pace, he is someone we will always welcome back for how well he did for us here.

David, how tough has it been trying to find that balance between giving players a chance and not making too many changes?

DM: We have a squad who have shown exactly what they can do in how well they played against Manchester United and Leeds United. We’ve probably used the best part of 22 players over the last few games. We have a lot of competition in the squad and they’re all looking to play so it’s difficult. But it’s also a good position to be in because they’re all in good form.

Declan, is this the happiest you’ve ever been at West Ham?

DR: Yes, I would 100% say so because I’ve played in teams here that have fought relegation and been mid-table. But in the last two seasons, what the manager has built for us, and what we’ve bought into as players, has been amazing. It’s a place where you wake up in the morning and you look forward to going in and having breakfast with the lads.

You look forward to having a laugh and you look forward to training. It’s like a big family. I think the gaffer said it before, we’re all like a bunch of kids. Honestly, it’s such a great place to be around at the moment. With the results and how well we’re doing makes it that bit more special.

Declan, how is it for you to be playing in European football and what do you hope it will add to your game?

DR: I had that experience in the summer of playing international European football and I learned so much from that. To play my first game in Europe for West Ham was really special as well.

I want to keep playing in Europe and pushing myself to get better and I think you’ll learn a lot from different styles and different players you get to come up against to those in the Premier League. I think there’s definitely a lot to learn.

Can you achieve your ambitions at West Ham and what is your message to fans who might be worried you will not sign a long term contract?

DR: I think we can achieve good things. Last season you saw that we finished three points off the Champions League and easily could have got into that. There are games we look back on that we really should have won and now in cup competitions like the other night against Manchester United, before I have played in games where we have been knocked out early, but I feel like the mentality around the place is that every competition we’re entering is one we can go on and win for sure.

And to the fans, you can see how happy I am on the pitch and there is nothing too much to say other than that. I love playing for this team, I love playing under the manager and every time I go out onto the pitch I will always give everything for them.

English Premier League fan since 1992. Travel enthusiast, sports buff and blog writer with deep interest in watching sports - English premier league, American Football, Basketball, Tennis, Cricket.. you name it.. Firm believer in giving back to the community which gives you happiness and identity. My inspiration - “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Teresa

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