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No upsets tonight, says Rice

Filed: Tuesday, 28th August 2018
By: Staff Writer

Declan Rice says that West Ham will be particularly keen to avoid a Cup upset against League One side Wimbledon tonight.

The Hammers have suffered from a string of humiliating League and FA Cup results over the years against teams such as Mansfield, Farnborough and Chesterfield.

However Rice, who is likely to return to Manuel Pellegrini's starting XI on Tuesday night, insists that the game is as important as any other.

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"Whoever is selected for the game is obviously going to want to take their chance, play well and get picked in the Premier League, which is where we all want to be playing," he told whufc.com.

"For me the Carabao Cup is just as important, as itís a first-team fixture and itís a game we want to win.

ďWe know we can go far as weíve got a good side and want to go to Wimbledon and win. We donít want to be knocked out early. We want to go there, make a statement and go through to the next round.

"We want to avoid an upset otherwise we wonít hear the end of it! So we need to go out there and perform, start quick and not be surprised by Wimbledon, who have had a decent start to the season."

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Rice, who has missed West Ham's last two outings following his half-time substitution against Liverpool at Anfield on the opening day of the season also confessed to having a personal stake in tonight's opponents.

"Itís only a small stadium, but theyíve got a great fan base and you can hear them from my house whenever theyíre playing," he added.

"Itís a five-minute walk from my house and Iíve been there to a few games down the years. It will be good to go there and play, having been somewhere I went to watch play with my mates.

"I know some of their lads too so I wish them well after Tuesday night, because itís a good club."

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In other news, it has been revealed that England have contacted Rice with view to representing them at full international level.

Despite having already featured for the Republic of Ireland on three occasions, Rice is still eligible to switch nations as none of the three matches were competitive fixtures.

The news was confirmed by Irish manager Martin O'Neill. "England have spoken to him. He is taking time to make his mind up," he said. "He has done brilliantly for us and I'm giving him a little bit of time."

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