West Ham United fans know they have something special in Declan Rice but things could have been very different thanks to Liverpool.
West Ham and now England possess a midfield talent rarely seen in the Premier League era.
The 20-year-old has been compared to greats like Roy Keane, Javier Mascherano and Sergio Busquets.
They are some reputations to live up to.
Rolls Royce Rice is doing it his way. Already indispensable to the way Manuel Pelllegrini sets up his side.
Things playing out perfectly for Rice but it could have been different
The England decision is behind him and a first call-up is just weeks away. He has also signed a six-year deal with the Hammers.
But he nearly gave up on West Ham altogether earlier this season.
Rice suffered a huge crisis of confidence after being withdrawn by Pellegrini in the 4-0 drubbing by Liverpool in the opening game of the season.
Crisis of confidence
And speaking to the Evening Standard he said Liverpool’s quality made him doubt his ability to make it at the top level.
“I’m one to block things up and not talk about it,” Rice told the Evening Standard after being named Young Player of the Year at the London Football Awards.
“To be honest, after that game (against Liverpool), I thought I wasn’t cut out for the Premier League.
‘I didn’t think I was good enough… Liverpool can do that to you’
“I didn’t think, playing against Liverpool on that day, I was good enough to carry on playing (against the best).
“I thought then I had to go on loan and gain experience. But playing against Liverpool, they can do that.
“Things start going through your head, you start reading things, but in the end I knew I needed to stop being silly, block that out and keep working hard.”