Manuel Pellegrini is happy with the contributions made by Declan Rice and Grady Diangana so far this season, but is adamant that the pair must take “the next step” soon.
Rice found himself thrust into the West Ham starting lineup after injuries to numerous midfielders, and has made 11 appearances in all competitions for the Hammers so far this season.
Quoted by Sky Sports, Pellegrini said:
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,
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.
Declan is always listening to what he must improve and if you compare the first game of the season against Liverpool to now, I think he has improved in every game a little bit more.
Winger Diangana has seen playing time in the wake of Andriy Yarmolenko’s season-ending Achilles injury, in addition to being given the nod in the Irons’ League Cup campaign.
The 20-year-old recorded an assist during West Ham’s 4-2 victory against Burnley, and scored twice in an 8-0 demolition of Macclesfield in September.
Pellegrini said of Diangana:
…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.
At the beginning, everyone appreciates everything he does because he is a young player. But, after that, he must grow another step and continue making the difference in every game he plays.
West Ham will travel to Huddersfield on Saturday for their next Premier League fixture, where Diangana and Rice could feature again.