West Ham and England midfielder Declan Rice has opened up on his aspirations to become a leader for club and country, citing the influence of Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Mark Noble.
The 21-year-old has become an integral part of the Hammers side since making his breakthrough in 2017, going on to become a regular in the international set up, winning 11 caps for the Three Lions to date.
Rice has often been entrusted with the captain’s armband in the increasing absence of West Ham skipper Mark Noble, and the England international has admitted that it has always been a dream ‘to be a captain’, naming Noble, as well as international teammates Jordan Henderson and Harry Kane as inspirations.
“It’s just something that, as a kid, has always been one of my dreams – to be a captain,” he told a press conference ahead of England’s Nations League clash with Belgium. “Coming up with Nobes as our captain and, me, being the rising player in the team, the manager has given me the armband when Nobes isn’t playing.
“I’m taking it in my stride and I’m really lucky I’ve someone like Noble to help along the way.
“I’m only 21 and captaining the team in big games like Liverpool and Manchester City – long may that continue.
“If you look at Jordan and what he’s done for his whole career but, especially the last couple of years, it’s so important for me to learn and get better. We know his qualities on the ball but you don’t realise until you play next to him, his leadership qualities. He is non-stop, always on at you in a good, positive way.
“That gives you the confidence to go and fight for the badge.
“With Harry, you feel his presence all the time. He wasn’t involved against Ireland but beforehand, he’s in the changing room, getting everyone ready. He’s talking to the lads, individually. For a youngster like me, aspiring to be a future captain, that’s great.”