Declan Rice has described his desire to play Champions League football as ‘urgent’, while describing a reported £100m valuation as ‘crazy’.
The midfielder has developed into one of the Premier League‘s most sought after talents after establishing himself for both club and country, his performances attracting attention from within the so-called ‘big six’ for a number of years.
Rice was strongly linked with a return to Chelsea during Frank Lampard’s reign at the club, while both Manchester sides have also been linked, with Manchester United seemingly having the most pressing need to sign a central midfielder in the summer.
It’s unsurprising for player of Rice’s calibre to be keen on playing at the highest level, and speaking at the Football London awards on Thursday evening, the 23-year-old admitted he is keen to play Champions League football as soon as possible.
“It is as urgent as possible. I feel like, not only for me, that’s for every young player as well,” he told the Evening Standard.
“We are really close with West Ham at the minute and last season it was gutting to lose out on it but we are pushing.
“We’ll keep going. Champions League is a big aim of mine and hopefully one day I can play in it and do well.
“I feel like I am one of the established top players around the world. I am only 23, so I am still young — that’s what I mean in that sense — but in terms of my playing ability and the way I’ve performed consistently, I see myself as an established player now who’s got good experience and can play at any level if required.”
West Ham are currently sitting fifth in the Premier League, two points behind Manchester United in the race for Champions League football, while they are level on points with Arsenal who have three games in hand.
Rice only has two years remaining on his current contract at the London Stadium, and while he has so far rejected the chance to sign a new deal, West Ham have reportedly slapped a £100 million valuation on the head of their most prized asset. While he thinks such sums are ‘crazy’, the England international said he will continue to go out and perform ‘regardless of the price tag’.
“You hear those numbers and for me it is crazy,” he said.
“All I can do is go out there and perform, regardless of the price tag. I just need to focus on playing well and performing at the best level I can.”