West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice has admitted his dream of playing in the Champions League, as the Hammers continue their push for a top-four spot.
The 22-year-old – who’s currently sidelined with a knee issue – has enjoyed another fine campaign in the top-flight, playing an integral role in West Ham‘s rise up the table, having narrowly avoided relegation last term.
The England international has been in superb form alongside Tomas Soucek in central midfield, the former Chelsea youth player also taking on the captain’s armband in the absence of the long-serving Mark Noble.
With just four games left to go in the campaign, David Moyes’ side are currently in fifth and five points off Leicester in fourth, albeit having played a game less than the Foxes, who on paper, have a difficult run-in.
If the Hammers were to secure a place in the top-four it would represent a huge achievement for a club that has been near the wrong end of the table in recent seasons, while on a personal note for Rice, playing in the Champions League would be the realisation of a lifelong ‘dream’.
The midfielder has reportedly been the subject of interest from the likes Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea – all of whom look set to be in next season’s elite European competition – yet it would appear his sole focus is on taking his current club into Europe.
“To have that Champions League music playing, that’s where I want to be,” Rice told BBC’s MOTDx.
“It’s special, I can’t really describe it to be honest. As a kid it’s your dream, first of all to play in the Premier League, but to be competing for the Champions League [as well].
“You know West Ham, people say (we’re) a mid-table club and last three seasons we’ve been battling relegation. But this, what we’re doing now, has always been there. It was just about when. We’re on fire.
“We’re on course to have West Ham’s best ever season in the Premier League. That in itself is an achievement. There’s a great chance that we are going to get some sort of European spot.”
West Ham take on Everton on Sunday afternoon, in what could be a potentially pivotal game for their European qualification hopes.