Declan Rice insists he is “loving life” at West Ham amid talk of a potential return to boyhood club Chelsea.
The 21-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in recent months, with reports suggesting Frank Lampard is a huge admirer.
Signing for the Blues would bring Rice’s career full circle already, having spent eight years in their youth setup before being released at the age of 14.
After he was let go, the defensive midfielder joined West Ham’s academy and climbed the ranks to eventually make his senior debut in May 2017.
And now, 120 first-team appearances later, he finds himself as vice-captain of the east London club despite only turning 21 at the start of the year.
Rice believes being released by Chelsea at a young age actually proved a blessing in disguise, while stressing that he loves playing for West Ham despite talk of a switch across the capital.
When speaking about his early setback at Chelsea, he told Sky Sports News: “I think that's the making of me to be honest with you.
“I had to move to West Ham at 14, away from my family. I'm a family boy, love my mum and dad, live at home with them.
“And to leave them at 14 to play with people I don't know from Monday to Friday, I think that shaped me into the person I am.
“I had to start being responsible for myself, but look, I've come here and flourished. I've had three managers that have really looked after me, I'm loving life here.”
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As well as becoming a mainstay in the West Ham midfield, Rice has also earned 13 caps for England since deciding to play for the Three Lions instead of Republic of Ireland in 2019.
The player was eligible to play for Ireland as his grandparents are from Cork, but after earning three caps he traded allegiances to represent England in February of last year.
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