Declan Rice calls David Silva his hardest opponent and talks supporting Chelsea

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Declan Rice has revealed what it’s like captaining West Ham as a childhood Chelsea fan while giving a fascinating insight into his hero John Terry.

Rice has seen his reputation skyrocket over the past few months, becoming one of the first names on the team sheet for England, and attracting interest from the biggest teams in the country.

Rice’s 2021 was astonishing for such a young player

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Rice’s 2021 was astonishing for such a young player

Rice’s reputation went through the roof at Euro 2020

AFP

Rice’s reputation went through the roof at Euro 2020

Rice started all seven games for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions as they made it to the Euro 2020 final and has become undroppable for club and country.

Taking on extra responsibility as de facto Hammers captain with Mark Noble’s minutes dwindling, Rice has been the driving force of West Ham’s superb season, with the club in the fight for Champions League football, and topping their Europa League group with ease.

But despite winning his place in Iron’s fans hearts, disaster could soon be round the corner, with the boyhood Chelsea fan regularly linked with a return to the club.

23-year-old Rice played in the Blue’s academy until the age of 14 before being released, and was asked by Gary Neville what it’s like now captaining one of Chelsea’s fiercest rivals.

“Yeah growing up the whole family was Chelsea,” Rice explained to Neville on ‘The Overlap’. 

“I feel like it’s out there, everyone knows, it’s well documented but I feel like when you play for a club like West Ham you become really affiliated to it and this is part of me now and my family as well, [who are] massive West Ham fans as well.”

Rice was happy open up about his Chelsea-supporting childhood

Rice was happy open up about his Chelsea-supporting childhood

Regarding the captaincy, Rice was just as open.

“I’m still learning, I’m still really young,” he said. “But it’s something that I love to do, I like the responsibility of it and I think it’s really good for me as well.”

West Ham fans will be happy to hear Rice supports the club nearly as much as them, but his comments about one Chelsea legend may swing things back the other way.

Neville asked Rice who his childhood here was, and the boyhood Chelsea fan had a clear stand-out candidate.

Rice went in depth on what it’s like captaining a team who he would’ve disliked as a child

Rice went in depth on what it’s like captaining a team who he would’ve disliked as a child

And Neville was left fascinated by the midfielder

And Neville was left fascinated by the midfielder

“John Terry,” Rice said. “I speak to him a lot, I speak to him all the time really. 

“For me growing up being a Chelsea fan having a season ticket there, going to all the big games just being in the academy, just him, looking at him. 

“Everything was JT. The kit JT26 on the back, even when I was young I said if I make it I want to be number 26. 

“But I feel like as I’ve got older now I’ve grown out of that, because it would look a little bit creepy, getting the 26 on the back because of JT, but 100 per cent JT, he was amazing for me when I got released as well, he picked up the phone, he didn’t  have to I was only 14 at the time and I was speaking to my idol, so yeah we’ve got a good relationship.”

Premier League legend Terry is Rice’s icon

GETTY

Premier League legend Terry is Rice’s icon

But Silva is his toughest opponent

getty

But Silva is his toughest opponent

Terry was undoubtedly a heavy influence on Rice, but there’s another man who the star midfielder was similarly full of praise for.

Asked by Neville who his toughest opponent was, Rice’s answer was unequivocal.

“David Silva,” he said. “He was just so intelligent, when the ball was on the right hand side and he had the ball he was planning his next steps. 

“That was him on the ball, off the ball for me the positions he took up, he was just always constantly on the move, constantly checking his shoulder, knew his next pass, playing eye of the needle balls through the back of our line, he was a real tough opponent.”

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