Declan Rice took the ball off Jesse Lingard and scored the first penalty of the West Ham season – to avoid the prankster boss David Moyes!
The Hammers knocked out a 3-0 winner over Sheffield United on Monday night to move above Liverpool and take fifth place in the Premier League table.
The standstill was broken in the 41st minute when Rice passed Aaron Ramsdale from the penalty spot after Chris Basham knocked Lingard into the pits.
After winning the penalty, Lingard desperately wanted to take it out – but Rice didn’t have it.
The Manchester United borrower looked visibly disappointed when he handed the ball to Rice after a brief discussion, but was the first to congratulate his teammate when he got stuck.
It was the first penalty West Ham awarded in the 2020/21 season, and the first to be scored by Rice in his career.
West Ham continued with a comfortable 3-0 win over the bottom, and Issa Diop and Ryan Fredericks also made the list.
Asked about a discussion with Lingard about criminal duties, Rice revealed, “I just said to Jesse, ‘Look, gaffer, I don’t want to be beaten by the locker room assistants if I don’t take it.’
“I said I didn’t want to be the guy who looks like I’m taking the ball off you, but I said, ‘I’m on their friend, so obviously I can get the ball.’
“It’s buzzing to put it in the back of the net and, more importantly, we have three points.
“It was weird because it was our 24th game tonight and we didn’t have a pen.
“It’s the first time I’ve taken a penalty in the Premier League, so I had to compose myself, take a deep breath and just visualize the ball hitting the back of the net and, thankfully, I did.”
Rice couldn’t resist teasing Lingard about the moment on social media after the match.
He shared a video of Lingard in the bathtub in the locker room, saying he “knows he has to give me a pen!”
Lingard saw the funny side as he burst out laughing – showing a sense of companionship under Moyes that took West Ham into a Champions League bout.
Asked about Rice’s revelation that he withdrew Lingard’s rank to avoid hitting the boss, Moyes said: “He’s right. Because we want to be clear, we want the organization to be clear.
“I also see this as a step forward for Declan, that is his first goal [this season], he took responsibility, took over that ownership and made sure the job was done.
“Next time we could try someone else, but this was definitely Declan.”
Lingard was great for West Ham again as he continues his career in London after his hard spell at Man United.
Rio Ferdinand praised the 28-year-old for his showing and for not sulking over the criminal dispute.
“There’s maturity, he doesn’t sulk,” he said. “Some players would sulk in that situation: ‘I want it, I want it.’ It’s a matter of ego. But he put his ego aside.
“More importantly, he was the bright spark of West Ham. We said they don’t have the traditional number 9 now [Michail] Antonio is out and [Sebastien] Haller was released.
“This kid was the person they were talking to when they needed a great spark.”