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The England international remains committed to the Hammers despite continued speculation about his future

Declan Rice stressed the need for West Ham players to “play for the badge” after their thumping 4-0 win over Wolves, with speculation continuing about his long-term future at London Stadium.

Rice took the captain’s armband on Sunday evening with regular skipper Mark Noble only among the substitutes and played his part in a fine Hammers performance.

Jarrod Bowen scored twice, with a Raul Jimenez own goal and stoppage-time Sebastien Haller strike sealing the points.

It was the club’s first Premier League win of the season after they began the campaign with back-to-back defeats against Newcastle and Arsenal.

The win was made all the more impressive by the fact manager David Moyes was self-isolating at home after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier in the week.

Assistant Alan Irvine was on the touchline, while Moyes issued instructions over the phone to coach Stuart Pearce, who watched the game from the stands.

Rice, who has been linked with a move to Chelsea before next week’s deadline, did not discuss his future when he spoke after the game, though he did express his delight his side’s display.

“When I stood here after Newcastle, saying we couldn’t have played any poorer,” Rice told BBC Sport. “Now two weeks in a row we have seen a massive reaction.

“It could easily have been 6 or 7-0. I am buzzing with the performance. Our manager has tested positive for the Covid, so the backroom staff have taken over. I can’t be any happier for the staff tonight.

“We turn up in the big games all the time. Playing for this badge…that is what the fans want.”

Goalscorer Bowen did comment on Rice’s future, expressing his hope that the England international remains in east London.

“Dec’s a great lad on and off the pitch,” he told BT Sport. “Everyone loves him and everyone wants him him to stay, but that’s not for us players to comment on.

“It’s not up to us what happens with him. But we want him to stay and build on what we’ve got at the moment.”

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September 28, 2020
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