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Declan Rice – the background story on his future



CandH Exclusive: Hugh Southon talks to David Gold on the man of the moment


The lights turn on when David Gold starts talking Declan Rice…they have done from the moment two or three years ago when now departing Academy chief Terry Westley told him just how far the young man was going!

Gold and Westley as one accord – Declan is the complete package
(Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Westley has never had any doubt about the boy, describing him as the most exciting he’s mentored, the most complete as a person, the most composed he had ever known at that age and a boy who just wanted to learn – nothing more.

At the time  his contract was being discussed and we as fans were worried to death  I remember him telling me: “He won’t leave, he’s Hammers through and through…it wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t sign for another six years”… so it turned out.”

Terry wasn’t so sure over his international career decision where the family’s Irish loyalties against Declan having grown up in England presented the most difficult of choices but in the end it was the 20 year old’s decision.

Gold, meanwhile, in his latest exclusive conversation with ClaretandHugh on the player puts it very simply: “He’s becoming the biggest home grown hero since Bobby. We want him here for six more years and another six after that.

“He is the complete package as a player and a person. He’s a proper person and a joy to be around. He never wants to stop learning and it’s clear he loves West Ham with a passion.”

Gold, however, is a realist and obviously understands that with international acclaim comes club recognition throughout Europe and that eventually the inquiries will start.

But he insists: “There has been nothing from anywhere yet – we have not had an inquiry but we are aware that it will come and we are confident we know his worth and don’t need inquiries to prove it.”

However, he understands that when the world’s top clubs move, the world’s best players want to join and that were, for example, Barcelona or Real Madrid to come in at some point it would be incredibly hard to keep the boy.

But he added: “That would not stop us trying with everything we have and as we as a club go higher and higher the easier it will be to hold on to our best players. As I say though we know Declan’s worth.”

The much mentioned £70 million basic fee is probably about right but in another year it could be up to £80m or more and, with the inflation in the game,  year on year increases are a given.

Alongside that comes the add-ons,  League Title wins, Cup wins, Champions League victories and all the rest of it. Whichever way the Rice cookie crumbles there is only one winner apart from the boy – West Ham United.

The academy currently costs around £10 million a year to run and the emergence of Declan and others such as Grady Diangana, Conor Coventrey, Ben Johnson, Nathan Holland and Xande Silva, make it money well spent as the club plots its way forward.

Declan of course is the crown jewel but it’s great to hear the co chairman mixing optimism with realism as he discusses his next two or three years.

Declan is a Hammer to his backbone and he will be going nowhere at all just yet and dare we say, if it all.

The reality is that were he to do so it will only be to one of Europe or Britain’s biggest clubs but as Gold says: “In another year he will be worth more again and for every successive year.

We have a six year contract and have absolutely no desire or will to sell him.”


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About Hugh5outhon1895

Hugh Southon is a lifelong Iron and the founding editor of ClaretandHugh. He is a national newspaper journalist of many years experience and was Bobby Moore's 'ghost' writer during the great man's lifetime. He describes ClaretandHugh as "the Hammers daily newspaper!" Follow on Twitter @hughsouthon

3 comments on “Declan Rice – the background story on his future

  1. I really don’t know why a figure of £70m would seem fair. He is only 20 years old and has already proved his pedigree at club and international level, playing against the best players in the world, week in week out. His level will only improve and he’s an Englishman (if it’s another English team who come sniffing, helping improve their home grown ratio, plus adding at least 20% to his value). With the tv rights expected to go for a double obscene amount next time, there will be even more cash in the game and players wages and transfer fees will take another leg up from already ridiculous levels. Surely a figure more like £125mln would be fair considering he could be bossing a Champions League club’s midfield for the next 10 years+, sod it £150mln. My preference and hope would be that he stays, we build a team around him, groom him for captaincy and he helps US get in the Champions League. Ok my bubbles might be flying high, but there is always hope and if not, at least we’ve got 150mln in the sky rocket. COYI X

  2. Hope he stays for a long time, legend in the making! That said, “we” need to be careful piling pressure on him; club and country… Writing the words I recognize Declan stands tall and can handle it. I believe Pellegrini is a perfect coach for him at the time being, remembering the half time sub against Liverpool; there must have been carefully chosen words to allow Dec to continue his progress. He definitely took it and stepped up. The article speaks of the Barcelona and Real Madrid’s of the footy world, makes historical sense but we all see English teams stepping up internationally. My biggest worry is City…. If I was city chairman I would pursuit Rice to replace Fernandhino!

  3. Will Mr Gold be encouraging Connor Coventry to switch from ireland to England like he did with Rice?

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