Declan Rice has insisted he is ‘loving every second’ of his time at West Ham United and is purely focusing on his future at the London Stadium.
The England international has been a revelation in midfield for the Hammers this season having originally been deployed as a centre-back under David Moyes last term.
Is Rice staying put? Five key things to know…
- Rice had his breakthrough campaign last season, making 31 appearances under West Ham.
- The 20-year-old mainly played as a centre-back but has firmly established himself in midfield this season.
- His form has led to his first senior caps for England, as well as links to Man Utd and Man City.
- But he has insisted he is ‘happy’ at West Ham and is focusing on his future in London.
- Before West Ham’s defeat to Everton, though, Pellegrini admitted the club would sell at the right price.
And his form for Manuel Pellegrini has not only attracted the attention of Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate but also, reportedly, Manchester United and Manchester City, who are seeking long-term replacements for Ander Herrera and Fernandinho, respectively.
Rice, however, has moved to calm that speculation, maintaining he isn’t interested in transfer rumours and is simply focusing on turning in good performances for West Ham.
“I’m happy [at West Ham],” Rice told BT Sport. “I’m playing week in, week out. I have a special connection with the fans. It’s unbelievable [the London Stadium].
“I love every minute of being at West Ham.
“Being compared to players, being linked to other teams, I don’t really take any of it in, to be honest. If you think about it too much you get caught up in it. I’m only 20, you’ve got your whole career ahead of you.
“I’m just focused on playing for West Ham and playing with a smile on my face and enjoying it.”
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Pellegrini: Rice is available, for the right price
Despite Rice having a contract at the London Stadium until 2024 and insisting he is happy staying put, Pellegrini has been less than convincing and will have the Hammers faithful worried with his recent comments.
Speaking in the days prior to West Ham’s 2-0 defeat to Everton, the Chilean admitted he would let the 20-year-old go if a club came in with the right offer.
“In that case, as always, it is just a matter of price,” Pellegrini said.
“There are big teams who decide to pay an important amount of money. Sure, if it is a good deal for the club and the player and improves his career, then we can do it. But I know nothing about that yet.”
West Ham face London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Monday.