The magic of the FA Cup was nearly on full display on Saturday but Declan Rice broke Kidderminster Harriers hearts with a wonderful injury time goal to send the game to extra time.
Rice started on the bench but was brought on to change the game, and that is what he did, driving the Hammers forward and ultimately into the fifth round as Jarrod Bowen netted a late winner in extra time.
It is a performance that is only likely to intensify the interest in him, with Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all reported to want the England international.
After full-time, however, Rice was eager to pile praise on West Ham’s opponents.
“Massive, massive respect to Kidderminster,” Rice told the BBC after full-time.
“We watched some videos of them this week and they’ve been flying. You could see it on the bench with their manager.
“We weren’t at our best and scraped it with two goals. They probably deserved it if I’m being honest.
“We need to improve if we want to push on but massive congratulations to them because they were excellent.”
Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel’s interest in signing Rice has been longstanding and having previously been a part of the Cobham academy, many supporters are eager to see him return to Stamford Bridge.
But having emerged as a defensive midfielder, the 23-year-old has added a lot more attacking threat to his game this season, and Danny Murphy believes we will see that progression more and more.
“They were crying out for him and [Tomas] Soucek,” Murphy said on the BBC’s FA Cup Match of the Day highlights show.
“They started them both on the bench but Declan Rice came on and showed this… his presence alone, his assertiveness on the ball.
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“The way he carried the ball forward and tried to make things happen. Didn’t mind making mistakes and didn’t always come off for him. But everything positive West Ham did in the second half was because of him.
“I think this is a role were we will see Declan grow into in the next couple of seasons. More of a number eight than a six. Somebody who can surge forward and use his athleticism and quick feet.
“I think he’s more technically gifted than people give him credit for. Breezing past people. Of course the goal shows that he’s got the quality to do that. Speaking to him in the past I know he wants to add more goals to his game.”