With interest rumoured to be from Chelsea to acquire the services of Declan Rice, I thought it would be a good opportunity to focus on him in this post. Born on 14th January 1999 in Kingston Upon Thames, Rice joined the academy of Chelsea in 2006, being released in 2014 and joining academy of West Ham at the age of 14.
Rumours are rumours until they actually happen, but many people who occupy the seats where I sit understand that for Rice’s career to really blossom, he will need to leave West Ham. The main reason for this resignation is that the club have no ambition to progress in any meaningful way to the next level.
This season has shown what that club’s lack of ambition has led to with fan protests outside, and to some extent within the ground and much online, as the team struggled to perform on the pitch.
Much has been made of the sacking of Pellegrini but there have been issues with injuries to key players that have had an impact on form, but many have highlighted the ongoing problems with West Ham’s scouting network and transfer policy that have been a feature of much criticism over many seasons, and particularly since the take over of the club by the current owners.
Rice has struggled this season to produce what we know he can on the pitch – those timely tackles, breaking up of play and at times pin point passes that can put the team into a powerful forward movement that creates opportunities. Declan is a tall, strong and versatile player who is comfortable playing at centre back and in a defensive midfield role who seems to have settled comfortably into the first team since his debut against Burnley in the final game of the 2016/17 season. The following season of course saw Rice as running up for HOTY. And who can forget his first goal for West Ham against Arsenal 2 days before his birthday on 12th January 2019.
Despite this seasons form, and Rice is certainly not the only player who has failed to perform on the pitch, but he will surely be seen by Moyes as a key player with his deal running until 2024. But with the current situation, clubs like ours may be forced to part with players to balance the books. Rice is definitely a fans favourite and he has a great connection with the fans which you can see when he always stops on his way out of the stadium to sign autographs and talk to those waiting, but also the results visibly affect him and he will always come over to fans at the end of the match to thank everyone before leaving the pitch.
We do not know what the rest of the season will hold for us, and the impact of the lockdown is yet to be fully understood, but as a club going forward we surely must retain our best players for when the sport returns, otherwise we will find ourselves struggling again to retain our status in the top flight.