Declan Rice says players savage him over transfer rumours and his £150m price tag but insists he remains focused on West Ham.
West Ham’s star player Rice has been incessantly linked with a move away from the London Stadium over the last couple of years.
In a recent interview with Gary Neville for The Overlap, Rice made it clear he wants to be competing for and to win all the top trophies.
And the talismanic Hammers midfielder very much drew a line in the sand over his future in an interview with The Evening Standard where he described his need for Champions League football and silverware as “urgent”.
Well West Ham and Rice could get both this season if they can overturn the 2-1 semi-final first leg defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt on Thursday night.
Winning the Europa League will see the Hammers end a 42-year wait for a major trophy and qualify for the Champions League for the first time.
West Ham’s superb campaign has been driven by Rice in an eye-catching new rampaging role.
And inevitably that has led to increased speculation over his future on an almost daily basis.
West Ham boss David Moyes has publicly declared the Hammers value Rice at £150m with the likes of Manchester City, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea all being linked.
There is talk of £200,000 per week contracts in a bid to keep Rice at West Ham.
Declan Rice says players savage him over transfer rumours and £150m price tag but remains focused on West Ham
But what impact is all the speculation having on the West Ham dressing room?
In a revelation that is somewhat typical of the great team spirit Moyes has fostered at West Ham, the Hammers squad appear to be having plenty of fun with it all (Sky Sports).
Because Rice says players savage him over the transfer rumours and his £150m price tag but he insists he remains focused on West Ham.
“I feel like playing well comes with speculation,” Rice told Sky Sports.
“I’ve had two or three top seasons with West Ham and the top clubs around the country are always going to be watching. It’s not just me, it’s the same for every player.
“I think it’s important not to get too carried away with that. We’ve had a good season with West Ham and there have been big games I’ve had to play in so I feel like my focus has always been on that. If I thought about other things, I’d get carried away and that wouldn’t be fair on the team or the manager.
“I can’t help speculation, even with the numbers that get talked about. I get battered for it all the time on social media, but I can’t help that. I can help by going on the pitch and performing as best as I can.
“They (my West Ham team-mates) wind me up all the time!
“It’s crazy to speak about to be honest, so I just kind of block it out and do what I do best and that’s play football.”