Declan Rice

Declan Rice reveals he was nearly released by West Ham & discusses his future

Jamie Spencer
Declan Rice wants to win Premier League & Champions League
Declan Rice wants to win Premier League & Champions League / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

West Ham and England star Declan Rice has said that he wants to win the Premier League and Champions League, insisting he doesn’t want to look back on a trophy-less career.

Rice is already one of the best midfielders in the Premier League and is regularly linked with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and former club Chelsea.

The 23-year-old told Gary Neville during the latest episode of The Overlap that he considers the transfer rumours surrounding him to be ‘just noise’. However, his ambitions to win silverware at the very top of the game may ultimately mean he moves on in pursuit of that.

“I don’t want to have a career where I’ve won nothing,” Rice explained.

“I’ve grown up as a kid and seen all these top players win big trophies – the Premier League, the Champions League. Me, as a football fan and a player, I want to win the best stuff. I want to win the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup, the League Cup, even stuff with England.

“As a footballer, if you’ve not got that ambition, why are you playing? They’re the best moments of your life when you win those types of trophies. I’ve not won anything yet – I was close to it with England – I’ve thought about it before and it’s like, ‘What would that day be like?’”

Rice started his career in the youth ranks at Chelsea but was released at the age of 14. He admitted that it wasn’t expected and initially ‘that was it’ as far as his football career was concerned. Yet the same day as his release, he trained with Fulham’s academy, and then West Ham the next day.

Discussing his release from Chelsea he said: “My technical ability was fine. In terms of the physical aspect of it, the running, I was struggling and couldn’t keep up with other kids. Maybe, in the end, they thought that was a thing I couldn’t grow out of.”

But despite starting afresh with West Ham, Rice could have been released again after two years.

“It was a 50/50 decision,” he revealed. “Half the coaches were saying, ‘Keep him on’, and half the coaches were saying, ‘We’re not too sure what’s going to happen’.

“Terry Westley gave me my scholarship. But there were five other lads who had a one-year scholar and a three-year pro [contract] and I only ever got a two-year scholarship to start with. I think me not having that pro [contract] really did help because I didn’t stay complacent.”

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