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Aaron Cresswell knew Declan Rice was 'gonna be good' when he saw him do one thing at 16

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Aaron Cresswell sat down with Sky Sports before West Ham’s game against Leeds today, where he had some words of praise for Declan Rice.

What’s the story?

Well, Cresswell reveals that he knew Rice was going to be good after seeing him play for West Ham during pre-season as a 16-year-old.

The West Ham No.3 said: “I remember seeing him at 16 when he come away on the pre-season tour. We played Rubin Kazan. He came on at centre-back alongside me.

“I think he gave the ball away and they scored. I remember looking at him and thinking ‘right, let’s see how he goes here’. It was like he’d just scored at the other end, he didn’t drop no confidence. He was like give me the ball, I’m here. I thought he’s definitely got a chance this kid, he’s gonna be good.”

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That’s quite the story from Cresswell.

For a 16-year-old to show that much nerve amongst a bunch of experienced Premier League players takes some doing.

Evidently, Rice has always had the mentality needed to succeed in football.

After hearing Cresswell’s story, it’s absolutely no surprise to see where the 22-year-old is now, just six years later.

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Rice now captains the Hammers – when Mark Noble is on the bench, of course – and has already amassed 26 caps for England.

At this rate, he’ll surely reach 100 caps.

Players like Cresswell must’ve been huge for Rice at West Ham

At the time of Cresswell’s story, the left-back was 25, and the likes of James Collins, James Tomkins and Winston Reid were at the club.

Experienced characters like this – and Noble too – surely helped a 16-year-old Rice settle into the side and learn his trade quickly.

Photo by Arfa Griffiths/West Ham United FC via Getty Images

It’s tough enough as it is to break into a first-team, let alone at a Premier League club.

In that respect, it must’ve been hugely beneficial for Rice to have these leaders surrounding him, guiding him to become the star he is today.

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