Declan Rice commits future to West Ham and reveals Champions League ambition

Ruben Hill
May 29, 2019

England face Ronald Koeman's side in a semi-final clash in Guimaraes a week on Thursday and the 20-year-old West Ham midfielder is anticipating an exciting game, with Holland expected to feature youngsters such as Matthijs De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong alongside the likes of Virgil Van Dijk and Georginio Wijnaldum.

'It's (an opportunity) to win the first Nations League and to win a trophy for England, the first time since 1966.

But Rice, 20, signed a new five-year deal with the Hammers last season and insists he has no intention of leaving them for United. "I'm just focused on what I have to do for club and country", said Rice. "I'm not thinking about anything else".

'They've got some great players, but in our squad as well we've got fantastic young players who have performed at such a high standard this season.

He added: "I definitely I want that". You want to play in the Champions League.

"De Jong has got his move to Barcelona and it's fully deserved - he's a top, top player, I think you've seen that in the Champions League - and it will be great to come up against him in the Nations League". If you were in football and you didn't want to do that there'd be no point playing.

Despite a hard start to the season, when he was substituted against Liverpool on the opening day and was then out of the side for a few weeks, Rice played 33 of West Ham's last 34 games and made his England debut.

"He's a top, top player and I think you've seen that in the Champions League".

Rice said of his season: "It's been insane". After that game he questioned whether he was good enough to play in the Premier League and was going to ask to go out on loan.

"It's the best season of my career so far", said Rice, who made his debut in May 2017.

"But it's one you've got to take in you your stride as well - and that's what I'm trying to do".

"But the manager said "you're going to get another chance, you need to keep working", and that's what I did".

Solskjaer is keen to build on the home-based talent that brought Sir Alex Ferguson so much success and, for around £50m, the man who made his England debut against the Czech Republic in March could be the ideal first step. "Then I came back in for the Everton one and kicked on".

And - after issuing an apology over social media posts appearing to support the IRA from 2015 that had resurfaced - Rice made his England bow in the first game as a substitute, then started against Montenegro.

"It's massive for us as a nation and the players are aware of that - it's up to us to do the business".

"We've got ourselves into the semi-final and we have a massive chance now to create history". To play against Liverpool, we got beat 4-0; mentally it's tough.

Declan Rice urged his team-mates not to pass up the opportunity of winning a first piece of global silverware for England since 1966 when they head to Portugal for the inaugural Nations League Finals.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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