West Ham youngster Declan Rice has admitted that he wanted to leave the club to join Aston Villa on loan in the summer of 2018, when speaking exclusively to Four Four Two.
The 20-year-old is now an established star at the London Stadium. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Rice, however.
The Hammers began their 2018/19 campaign by losing 4-0 away at Liverpool.
And Rice was the target for criticism after his lacklustre display at Anfield.
West Ham went on to lose their next three league games, and the England international was dropped for those games.
He made his return against Everton, where the Hammers won 3-1, and the rest is history.
Rice is now widely considered to be one of the best holding midfielders in English football, and he will surely continue to get better.
The Englishman told Four Four Two how things could have been so different, however:
“I wanted to go to Aston Villa under Steve Bruce. West Brom, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa wanted me, and I was pushing for Villa the most. I remember speaking to the manager here, saying that I should go on loan. He just laughed it off and said, ‘You’re not going on loan, you’re going to stay, and you’re going to play’. He told me that I had to get back into the team.”
Rice is now arguably the first name on Manuel Pellegrini’s team-sheet.
West Ham have an incredible talent on their hands. And he is a massive fan favourite at the London Stadium.
The 20-year-old seems to be West Ham through and through. And he will now surely be incredibly grateful that he was not farmed out on loan to Villa.