Declan Rice: Chelsea release made me the player I am

Nicholas Hughes
Nicholas Hughes
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:24 BST
  • 4 min read
Declan Rice: Chelsea release made me the player I am
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West Ham starlet Declan Rice has admitted his release from Chelsea’s youth ranks in 2014 made him the person and footballer he is today.

Rice was cut from the Blues’ academy as a 14-year-old before being picked up by West Ham where he has gone on to become a regular first-team player and fully fledged England international.

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With a potential return to Chelsea on the cards, Rice gave SkySports an insight into how that setback as a young boy shaped his career.

Declan Rice’s 2019/20 stats

Touches P9058.6
Passes P9044.9
Tackles won P901.6
Recoveries P908.2
Dribbles P901.3

“I had to move to West Ham at 14, away from my family. 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,” he said.

Rice admitted he is “loving life” at West Ham after making his debut in 2017, with rumours persisting of a mega-money deal to reunite with the Blues.

I had to start being responsible for myselfDeclan Rice

The 21-year-old played every minute in the Premier League last season and has done so thus far as well, clocking over 100 top flight appearances for the Hammers in the process.

And the landmarks have continued so far in 2020/21 with Rice scoring his first England goal last week; a lovely header to open the scoring in a 4-0 win over Iceland.

He has become a staple in Gareth Southgate’s midfield in recent months, a position in which he feels he performs best in and where he sees his future lying on the pitch.

“I can slot in at centre-half, but I think I’ve got a lot more to give and I think my confidence is growing in midfield,” he said.


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  • Rice admitted he studies some of the Premier League’s great midfielders in Patrick Vieira and Yaya Toure to help improve his own game, particularly their running power through the centre of the pitch.

    What will come of Chelsea’s interest remains up to the unknown at the moment, but for now Rice’s full focus is on West Ham and preparing himself for what will hopefully be a first major international tournament with England.

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