West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has called on budding talents Declan Rice and Grady Diangana to continue to improve, and take the next step to fulfilling their potential. Rice has made a bright start to the 2018/19 season since moving from central defence into midfield, and Diangana has also turned heads around the London Stadium since receiving a call up to the senior team.
West Ham has always been a club that has worked hard to develop youth prospects. Since the days of Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand, the Hammers have continued to churn out future stars, despite experiencing multiple relegations, limited financial investment, and numerous managerial changes. The 2018/19 season has brought with it one of the most notable managerial changes in West Ham’s history, in the form of Manuel Pellegrini, and the veteran Chilean has been given sufficient financial backing by the club, in order to achieve their objective of pushing themselves towards the top end of the Premier League table.
With the likes of Felipe Anderson, Andriy Yarmolenko, and Jack Wilshere newly at his disposal, it would be easy for Pellegrini to cast aside West Ham’s tradition of promoting youth players, but so far this season, the 65-year-old has opted to put his faith in a number of young players, most notably Declan Rice and Grady Diangana.
“I think Declan has a lot of potential to arrive at the level that he wants and, after that, you have to see the development of his career,” said Pellegrini, ahead of this weekend’s fixture against Huddersfield.
“He is learning a lot of things very fast, he is improving his performances in every game and I hope he can become a top player in the years to come. He must continue learning as he has a lot of potential.
The West Ham boss was also heaped praise on Diangana, who was a key figure in the Hammer’s recent victory over Burnley. When asked if he was surprised to see the 20-year-old perform so well, Pellegrini explained: “I wouldn’t say surprised as I always see him working on a daily basis.”
“But what is important for a young player, like Grady, is that he must have the personality to do exactly the same thing that he does every day here.
“He did and in every game, same as Declan, he has improved a little bit more. Now for all young players, you have the next step, which is the most important thing.”