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Rice honoured to meet Hammers legend

Filed: Sunday, 3rd March 2019
By: Staff Writer

West Ham Man of the Match Declan Rice revealed that he met Billy Bonds for the first time in the tunnel ahead of Saturday's 2-0 win over Newcastle.

The young midfielder, who was named as Sky Sports' Man of the Match in the televised Premier League clash was seen being embraced by Bonds before the game started as both teams prepared to enter the field of play.

And Rice, who opened the scoring with a header and is widely tipped to receive a call-up to Gareth Southgate's next England squad admitted that he felt honoured to meet the 72-year-old Hammers legend, who spent 21 seasons as a Hammer.

The legend and the protege: Bonds and Rice embrace before the game

"I've never met Billy before so I just shook his hand before the match," revealed Rice. "I said 'it's a great occasion and it's lovely to meet you'.

"It was great to hear the fans singing 'there's only one Billy Bonds' as I know what he's done for the club. So it was a special day to get three points - and to get the points for him was even more special."

Meanwhile Mark Noble - who scored West Ham's second and final goal from the penalty spot - admitted that it was "a pleasure" to know Bonds, who was honoured prior to kick-off with the unveiling of the 'Billy Bonds Stand'.

"For Billy and his family it was a fantastic occasion," added Noble. "It was an incredible day for him - and what a man he is, I have the pleasure to know him pretty well myself.

"He was one of the managers on my testimonial day and what a man he is. If the fans can look up to any player it's either Bobby [Moore] or Billy Bonds - so what an amazing day it was for him."

*Declan Rice chats to Sky Sports after the game

* Listen or download from here if you cannot view the player above.

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