Terry Westley hopes Declan Rice is pushing for West Ham first-team return soon

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08:Declan Rice of West Ham United U21 attempts to control the ball under pressure from Joe Iaciofano of Northampton Towen  during the EFL Checkatrade Trophy...

Declan Rice captained West Ham United's under-23 side to victory over Manchester United at the London Stadium.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 08:Declan Rice of West Ham United U21 attempts to control the ball under pressure from Joe Iaciofano of Northampton Towen  during the EFL Checkatrade Trophy...

Terry Westley has told West Ham's official website that Declan Rice was extremely impressive during West Ham's under-23 side's victory over Manchester United at the London Stadium on Sunday, and admitted that he is hoping that he will not have to manage him too many more times in the future.

The Hammers beat United 4-2, with Toni Martinez becoming the first Irons player to score a hat-trick at the ground. But the forward was certainly not the only player who would have staked a claim to Slaven Bilic.

Southampton's Italian striker Manolo Gabbiadini (L) vies with West Ham United's Irish defender Declan Rice during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and West Ham...

Rice - who made his first senior start in the Premier League earlier this season - did well in the victory, and Westley suggested that he hopes to see Bilic bring the 18-year-old back into the fold in the near future.

“It was great to have Dec back, but we don’t want him back too long! You want him to progress, you want him to play first team football," he told the club's official website.

Declan Rice of West Ham United and Oriol Romeu of Southampton battle for possession during the Premier League match between Southampton and West Ham United at St Mary's Stadium on August...

“You want him, when you come back down, to be the outstanding player. He’ll be disappointed for the first goal. But put that to one side, his overall performance, you’d pay money to come and see him play."

While the Hammers' first-team have endured a difficult time at the start of the season, winning just two of their opening eight games to leave them languishing in the bottom-half of the table, it appears that there could be some brighter times ahead if Bilic uses the academy. 

It remains to be seen if the likes of Rice, Martinez and Domingos Quina can prove to be as influential as the academy graduates that shone so brightly around the turn of Millennium.

But the signs certainly suggest that if Bilic is brave and gives a few more of them their chance, and a prolonged run in the team at that, then perhaps there will soon be a number of players who West Ham fans can allow themselves to become excited about.

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