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West Ham United assistant manager Stuart Pearce has talked up the development of youngster Declan Rice ahead of Saturday’s Premier League clash with Burnley.

The Hammers are in a sticky patch of form having lost their last two matches 4-1 to Liverpool and Swansea City repsectively.

However, Pearce has highlighted the experience gained by Rice in the encounter with the Swans as one positive to take from an otherwise disappointing result.

“Every time you take to a pitch, there’s a learning curve to be had,” he told the club’s official website.

“We had young Declan in the side and every minute he gets in a Premier League match, and bear in mind he played at Swansea for 90 minutes, every minute he gets is a bonus to us as a football club.

“It’s money in the bank for us as a football club in regard to his knowledge.”

Injuries have meant that Rice has enjoyed a more prominent role in the first team this term, making 18 appearances in the Premier League.

He made his debut for the club on the final day of last season and is widely expected to make a significant mark in the senior setup over the coming years.

Pearce’s comments suggest that Rice is a major part of West Ham’s plans for the future and although the Irons are battling relegation from the top flight, the experience he gains could be valuable further down the line.

The 19-year-old’s potential was highlighted further on Thursday with his first call up to the Republic of Ireland international squad for the upcoming friendly with Turkey.

Despite being born in London, Rice has played for Ireland up to under-21 level, although he could still choose to represent England providing he does not feature in a competitive fixture for another nation.

With Winston Reid out for the season, the youngster may well be in the West Ham side for the visit of Burnley at the weekend.

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