England international Declan Rice is focused on playing for West Ham United, amid interest from Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City.
In an interview with BT Sport, as reported by Daily Mail, West Ham United midfield sensation Declan Rice has claimed that he is not getting distracted by transfer rumours linking him with Manchester United and Manchester City ahead of the summer transfer window.
The 20-year-old Rice, who made his first-team debut for West Ham in 2017, is enjoying a breakthrough campaign this time out. The defensive midfielder has established himself as a mainstay in Manuel Pellegrini’s side, notching up 29 Premier League appearances, in which he has scored twice and set up one more.
Rice’s solid displays in the middle of the park were rewarded with a first-ever call-up to the England national team last month. The 20-year-old featured in both of Three Lions’ UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against Czech Republic and Montenegro.
Rice’s emergence as one of the most promising young talents in the Premier League hasn’t gone unnoticed with Manchester United reportedly taking an interest in the midfielder. The Red Devils’ cross-town rivals Manchester City are also believed to be monitoring the 20-year-old, as per Daily Mail.
Manchester United’s interest in the England international makes perfect sense considering that Nemanja Matic has struggled for consistency this season and is into his thirties, while Ander Herrera could also be on his way out of the club, with his contract situation remaining unresolved.
Manchester City, on the other hand, are on the lookout for a long-term replacement for midfield mainstay Fernandinho. The Brazilian international will be 34 years of age next month and has had problems with injury this season, which has led to Pep Guardiola looking at Rice as a potential candidate to take over from the veteran.
Amid all the transfer speculations surrounding him, Rice has said that he is enjoying his time with West Ham United and is completely focused on doing well for the London outfit. Speaking to BT Sport (h/t Daily Mail) the 20-year-old said: “I’m happy. I’m playing week in week out. I love every minute of being at West Ham.
“Being compared to players, being linked to other teams, I don’t really take any of it in to be honest. If you think about it too much you get caught up in it. I’m only 20, you’ve got your whole career ahead of you. I’m just focused on playing for West Ham and playing with a smile on my face and enjoying it.”
Rice is contracted with West Ham United till 2024, having put pen to paper on a new deal in December last year. Judging by his words, it seems like the 20-year-old is not looking for a move away at the moment. It will be interesting to see if his stance remains the same should either of Manchester United or Manchester City act upon their interest and make a formal approach.