London rivals Chelsea and West Ham went head-to-head last night at Stamford Bridge and it was the hosts who came out on top, securing a routine 2-0 victory thanks to a double from Eden Hazard.
The Belgian has been the difference maker so often this season for an attack that has become increasingly reliant on his quality and for the Hammers, Declan Rice is swiftly becoming similarly outstanding, albeit in a totally different role.
But the England international could have been running out in blue last night, but Chelsea rejected him as a 14-year-old, according to the Evening Standard, prompting Rice to join West Ham instead.
Speaking about his journey as a young player, Rice said: “I heard about the historic pathway at West Ham, that you would get a chance if you were good enough.
“They were also the best team at my age group when I left Chelsea. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. What West Ham’s World Cup winners achieved is an inspiration for those that follow and it should be like that for everyone.”
Rice would likely be one of Chelsea’s frustrated band of loan stars if he had remained at the club – cleaning up at youth level, but unable to find a way into the first team because of the obsession with short-term success and manic spending.
Instead, just as he predicted, he was able to plot a way to the West Ham first team, which is in keeping with the history of the club.