declan rice

Declan Rice focused on West Ham but outlines Champions League ambitions

Declan Rice says he is not thinking about leaving West Ham, but admits playing Champions League football is an ambition.

The England international has been linked with the likes of Manchester United after an impressive season at the London Stadium, with the 20-year-old being nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Despite the speculation, Rice admits he is happy at West Ham having only signed a new five-year contract last season.

“Everything is good,” Rice told the media at St. George’s Park.

“I know that there’s speculation but during the season last year I just signed a new five-year contract with West Ham. So my focus is fully on playing for West Ham.

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“I’ve got a great connection with the fans; the fans love me and I love them and that’s the way it is at the moment. I’m not thinking about anything else, for sure.”

Rice is currently with England preparing for this summer’s Nations League finals, where the midfielder is likely to come up against some of Ajax’s young stars who reached the Champions League semi-finals when Gareth Southgate’s side face the Netherlands on June 6.

The West Ham star says he is looking forward to the challenge, citing Dutchman Frenkie De Jong as an example of a young player he would like to emulate by one day playing Champions League football.

“When you start out in football you always want to play at the top,” he added. “You want to play in the Champions League. If you were in football and you didn’t want to do that there’d be no point playing.

“But the likes of De Jong like you said, he got his move to Barcelona and it’s fully deserved. He’s a top top player and I think you’ve seen that in the Champions League. It would be great to come up against him in the Nations League.”