Declan Rice commits future to West Ham and reveals Champions League ambition
Declan Rice insists he is fully committed to West Ham and is not letting speculation about his future distract him.
The 20-year-old has become one of the most sought-after young players in the country after breaking into Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham side and earning a call-up to Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
Read more: It's time to believe the hype about Declan Rice – he's the business
Despite a difficult 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 is likely to play an important role for Southgate in Portugal next week in the Nations League finals.
‘The fans love me and I love them'
“I know that there's speculation but during the season last year I just signed a new five-year contract with West Ham,” Rice said. “So my focus is fully on playing for West Ham. I've got a great connection with the fans; the fans love me and I love them and that's the way it is at the moment. I'm not thinking about anything else.”
Rice has had a taste of top-level football with the England team — and is a part of the squad who will try to win the national team’s first major trophy since 1966 — and admitted he has ambitions to replicate that at club level.
“You want to play in the Champions League,” Rice said. “If you were in football and you didn't want to do that there'd be no point playing.”
However, he added: “For me to have thought that I'd be playing as a regular for West Ham in the Premier League at 19 or 20 is something that sometimes you've got to pinch yourself on. But it's one you've got to take in your stride as well and that's what I'm trying to do.”
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