Declan Rice Profile
|Born||Jan 14, 1999|
|Birthplace||Kingston upon Thames, England|
Declan Rice has established himself as one of the brightest prospects in English, and possibly European, football since breaking into the West Ham United first team picture.
Declan Rice is a professional footballer who plays as a midfielder or a centre-back for Premier League club West Ham United. Previously, he was in Chelsea's academy.
Rice is widely regarded as one of the brightest prospects within English football and has been persistently linked with a return to Chelsea.
Declan Rice and West Ham United
Rice joined Chelsea's academy in 2006 at the age of seven, but he left in 2014 without breaking through into the first team. Afterwards, he joined West Ham United's youth setup.
Dan Kemp, who played alongside Rice in Chelsea's academy, was quoted by Talksport as saying: "It was really upsetting, but also the massive thing was how much of a shock it was.
"None of us saw it coming. Even at that age, he was such a good player. It was such a massive shock to see him go because I never thought for one minute he'd be released.
"I always thought he was going to get another contract because it didn't even cross my mind that he would get released. It was tough.
"To this day, I couldn't really think of a reason why they would release him. I suppose they had their individual reasons, which we'll probably never, ever know.
"All I could do as a mate was be there and support him.
"I knew he'd be on to bigger and better things and that he'd have the resilience to bounce back."
On 16 December 2015, Rice signed his first professional contract with West Ham United. After solid performances for the U23 team, he was called up to the senior squad in April 2017 for games against Sunderland and Everton.
Rice made his senior debut in a 2-1 win over Burnley on the last day of the 2016/17 Premier League season, coming on for West Ham United as a substitute for Edmilson Fernandes in a 2-1 away victory.
Rice featured regularly for West Ham United throughout the 2017/18 season and was runner-up for the Hammer of the Year award behind Marko Arnautovic.
On 22 December 2018, Rice made his 50th appearance for West Ham, becoming the first teenager to do so since Michael Carrick, who would later go on to become a star for Manchester United and play for the England national team.
On 12 January 2019, Rice scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Arsenal and was named Man of the Match. The goal was his first at senior level for West Ham United.
"He is improving in every game," his manager at the time, Manuel Pellegrini, told Sky Sports.
"He has shown good technique and is good in aerial duels, I think we are seeing the complete player. At 19 years old, I am sure we will see a top, top player."
Rice made the shortlist for the PFA Young Player of the Year award for the 2018/19 season, which was eventually awarded to Manchester City's Raheem Sterling.
His performance against Arsenal saw him win West Ham's Individual Performance of the Season award at their annual ceremony, also taking home the Players' Player of the Year and Young Hammer of the Year prizes.
"The Players' Player award has got to be the best," Rice was quoted as saying by West Ham United's official website. "It's really special for me, being the youngest in the team and seeing what they think of me as a person and as a player.
"It makes me really happy for them to have voted for me, that's up there with the best moments in my career so far.
"My Dad was here tonight, but I sent him home early to set up the cabinet! I'm only joking!"
Even though he suffered a major setback in leaving Chelsea as a youngster, Rice expressed gratitude at the amount of playing time he had been given.
"I've been lucky enough to have played consistently for pretty much my whole career and last season I was saying the same thing - can it get any better?" he continued.
"I won Young Player of the Year last year and this year I've won it again and collected two more. It's really special but I've taken it all in my stride and tried to get better. I'm really happy."
In the 2019/20 season, speculation began to grow that Rice was a target of Chelsea manager Frank Lampard. However, the reports linking Rice with a return to Chelsea began to die down following Lampard's departure and it was widely reported that the Blues' interest in bringing him back to Stamford Bridge was likely to end.
As of 2021, Rice is vice-captain of West Ham United.
Declan Rice and England national team
Although Rice was born in London, his grandparents are from Cork and so he was eligible to represent the Republic of Ireland. He was named their U17 Player of the Year in March 2017.
Rice made his senior debut for the Republic of Ireland in a 1-0 defeat to Turkey on 23 March 2018.
After being approached by England in 2018, he pledged his future to them in February 2019.
"This has been an extremely difficult decision and, in all honesty, not one I ever expected to be making at this stage of my career. So much has happened, so quickly, in the past couple of years, from progressing through the West Ham United academy to making my Premier League debut at the age of 18 in May 2017 and then being named in a full international squad just two days later," Rice said.
"In recent weeks and months, I have discussed the situation with my parents, my family, my girlfriend and my closest friends. I have also spoken to Martin O'Neill and Mick McCarthy, Gareth Southgate and to friends and colleagues within the game whose opinion I respect. I am truly grateful for the support I have received in leading to this decision."
Rice, the first player to play for both the Republic of Ireland and England since Jack Reynolds in the 1890s, made his first start for England in a 5-1 win over Montenegro on 25 March 2019.
Declan Rice personal life
Rice has been close friends with Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount since childhood, having played alongside him in the Chelsea academy. More recently, they have both made their England international breakthroughs.
Declan Rice net worth
According to Spotrac, the five-year contract which Rice signed with West Ham United is worth Â£780,000.