Declan Rice: Jack Collison believes West Ham midfielder can become captain and club legend if he stays
Jack Collison believes Declan Rice can go on to be a West Ham legend if he decides to stay with the club.
Rice has been a standout performer for the Hammers this season and is widely considered one of the brightest young talents in the Premier League.
The 20-year-old made his England debut in March and has been linked with a move away from the London Stadium.
Manchester City and Manchester United are both reportedly keeping close tabs on him.
Even manager Manuel Pellegrini suggested West Ham may sell their prized asset if the price was right.
Former West Ham academy product Collison, who played 121 times for the club, believes future teams can be built around Rice.
“He’s been fantastic hasn’t he? He really is the flag bearer for the academy at the moment,” Collison told talkSPORT.
“Obviously you have Nobes (Mark Noble) who has been there and done it all, he’s been going for ages.
“It’s great for us as a club to have some one like Declan, so fresh out of the under-23s, fresh into the first team who is going from strength to strength.
“Week in week out he’s been consistent with his performances. It’s great for us as a club to see him rewarded with an England cap.
“For Dec there will come a time, obviously for any young English player there is going to be talk of clubs coming in for you.
“I think he has an opportunity to really knuckle down and could be a future club captain and club legend.
“The fans love him here, you can tell he loves being here and there’s every opportunity that this manager, and upcoming manager, will build the upcoming squads around Declan Rice.
“He’s a fantastic young player and one thing that is obvious is his leadership qualities. The way he conducts the game and the way he plays it is clear he has an old head on young shoulders.”
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Collison also spoke about the benefit of having a former academy player as captain of the club, like Noble is now.
“You really can’t underestimate the role that Nobes plays,” Collison added. “Within the first team he is the hub in that changing room, in terms of welcoming new players and letting people know what it means to play for West Ham.
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“It’s a real unique club and a lot of the foreign players probably come over and are maybe not sure what to expect but Nobes is there to help them settle.
“It’s just not the role he plays there but in the academy, you see him down here watching the Under-15s and Under-16s.”
Source: SportsLatest TS