Mikel Arteta has said that Declan Rice’s first return to West Ham will be a ‘beautiful moment’ for the Arsenal midfielder.
Arsenal travel to face West Ham in the Carabao Cup’s Round of 16 on Wednesday evening, in a fixture that will mark Rice’s first return to his former side.
The 24-year-old captained West Ham to Europa Conference League success last season, the Irons’s first major trophy since 1980, before joining Arsenal in a £105m club record deal.
Arteta believes Rice will receive a warm reception from the West Ham fans given his contribution to the club, as the Gunners face David Moyes’ side at the London Stadium.
“I would say so, I hope so,” Arteta told a pre-match press conference on whether he felt Rice would receive a good reception.
“Every time you hear him talk about West Ham and what they did for him and everybody at the club, he cannot talk any higher of them, so hopefully they will be the same way towards him.
“It will be his first time back at his old club and a beautiful moment for him I think.
“I think it is beautiful [returning to your old club]. I had a chance to do it a few times and then you really see what they think of you and what you left at the club.
“It is a really good way to measure your experience and your reality within the reality of people that share moments with you.”