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West Ham fans have big part to play says Rice

PUBLISHED: 12:07 15 June 2020 | UPDATED: 12:07 15 June 2020

Declan Rice of West Ham

Declan Rice of West Ham

Archant

Declan Rice says the Claret and Blue Army have a big part to play from afar as West Ham United return to Premier League action.

While supporters may not be present in person at London Stadium when the Hammers host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday (5.30pm), Rice believes the virtual positive atmosphere they can create will make a difference.

With all of West Ham’s nine remaining matches being broadcast live on TV in the UK and across the world, Rice urged the Claret and Blue Army to unite safely from home and cheer their team on.

“The fans are an integral part of what we do,” he said. “When you walk out there and you’ve got 60,000 screaming your name and every time you tackle or take a shot, it gives you that edge, and it’s big thanks to them.

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“It’s obviously going to be tough that we can’t play in front of them, but they’ve got to respect what’s going on in the world at the moment and hopefully they can sit at home and all of them can tune in and watch us.

“Obviously it’s different for them, but we get their support on social media from all round the world and we’re going to need that positivity.”

And, while he and his teammates would undoubtedly prefer to be facing Wolves with a capacity crowd supporting them, Rice knows the restrictions put in place to control the coronavirus pandemic means that is not possible at present.

But he also knows the Claret and Blue Army will be tuning in in their millions on Saturday evening, and hopes to reward that support on the pitch.

“Every club is the same and we’ve got to respect what is going on and I’m sure our fans will. They’ll be at home cheering. I know what West Ham fans are like and they’ll be there, cheering us on,” added Rice.

“For me personally, the fans are great with me, I get some great messages from fans and when you see little things it really brightens up your day, so we’re raring to go and we want to make the fans happy.”


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