West Ham United fans have been treated to the performances of midfielder Declan Rice over the past year or so. Since establishing himself in the Hammers first-team the youngster has shown an ability way beyond his years.
This season he has also had to deal with the distraction over his international allegiance. A Republic of Ireland youth international, he switched allegiances to England during the season. He is now a fully-fledged England international and will appear for his nation in the UEFA Nations’ League semi-finals this month.
Former West Ham and England star Matthew Upson is clearly a fan. Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live the 40-year-old, who has also worked as a coach in the West Ham system, had high praise for the talented 20-year-old.
“He’s a class act, forget about football as a human being (and) as a person. I had the pleasure of working with him when he was probably 18, we did a season together. He’s absolutely brilliant…
“He’s got the character to know what is right and wrong. He’s a fantastic character. For a young player he has got the maturity beyond his years which is why he’s been able to cope with this situation and put in the performances that he has done this season.”
There is no doubt that Rice’s displays this season have fully warranted such praise.
This summer the Hammers may have a fight to keep hold of Rice and in the long run that is likely to become a common theme.
West Ham must, however, do all they can to keep him at the club because with his quality and character he is a player a club can build around for years to come.