Declan Rice wants to add European football to his already impressive CV.
The 20-year-old West Ham midfielder has more than 50 Premier League appearances under his belt and is on the verge of an England call-up.
At the end of a week in which he was named young player of the year at the London Football Awards, Rice scored his second senior goal in the 2-0 win over Newcastle which kept the Hammers in the hunt for seventh place and a potential Europa League spot.
West Ham are unbeaten at the London Stadium in 2019 and Rice knows their home form will be crucial in the run-in.
“I think we deserved the win,” he said. “Newcastle have been in great form recently so we knew we had to be on our game.
“We had to treat the game like a final. I think you saw that in the first half. We were out of the box quick. We got an early goal and we kept pushing.
“We knew the second half would be tough but we were resilient and we defended well. We got the three points which is the main thing.
“Our London Stadium form is really important. We’ve really made it tough at time for teams to come here and play. We’ve played really well, especially against some top-six sides.
“These are the games, at home, where we should be winning. We’ve got the fans behind us. It’s important we keep pushing.”
Rice put West Ham ahead with a powerful seventh-minute header and Mark Noble doubled the advantage with a penalty shortly before half-time.
The evening did not go so well for another highly-rated young midfielder.
Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff had to be substituted at half-time with a knee injury sustained in a crunching 50-50 challenge with Robert Snodgrass.
Magpies manager Rafael Benitez said: “We’ll see. He has an injury, but we have to assess him in the next couple of days.”
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