Declan Rice has grabbed his first team chance like few in a very long time and has led the way in bringing the famous Hammers academy back into very sharp perspective.
The under 23s skipper, along with Nathan Holland and Josh Cullen, have been outstanding during pre season and he has now spoken of his progress.
He does not believe in false humility and honestly assessing his position he declared: “I think I have done very well.
“Having players around like Mark Noble and James Collins, they just keep egging me on to do better and better and keep getting better, giving me confidence to perform.
He told the official site: “Now I have played in midfield in two games I have started to feel a lot more comfortable there. Obviously, centre-back is my favourite position but it is good that I can play in both roles.
“I have to keep level-headed, keep focused, keep working hard in training every single day and hopefully the manager gives me my chance.
“My next target is to start in the Premier League, that’s what I am aiming for. I’ll play wherever the manager puts me, centre back or centre midfield, I don’t care.”
“It is a massive step-up from the U23s to this – with better players, international footballers, everything is a bit more sharper and at a high intensity,” he observed.
“I think I am raising my game to go along with them, definitely. With the help of the others and the manager I’m getting better each time.
“About a year ago, no-one knew who I was and now, I’m signing autographs for fans here in Germany, it’s a bit mad. It’s weird people knowing who I am!”
Good lad. Pleased for him, and for us.