Noble: The sky is the limit for Declan Rice

Mark Noble mentors Declan Rice


Mark Noble has urged Declan Rice to ‘keep learning, keep improving and keep enjoying his football’ after his fellow Academy of Football graduate signed a new long-term contract with West Ham United.

Captain Noble has taken a keen interest in Rice’s development since the teenager first joined the Club at the age of 14, mentoring and guiding him along the path from promising scholar to first-team player, sharing his own experience and lending an ear whenever his young teammate has needed it.

As someone who has followed a similar path from Little Heath via Chadwell Heath to Rush Green, there is nobody better than the No16 to guide his young colleague through the ups and downs of life as a Premier League footballer.

Declan is a top player and every day that I can help him along in his journey is something to be proud of

Mark Noble

“It is fantastic news for both Declan and for the Football Club,” the skipper enthused of Rice, who has put pen to paper on a new deal until summer 2024. “I have spoken to him regularly about his situation and Declan is on a massive high now. He’s come into the team, he’s playing fantastically well and now he has signed a new long-term contract, which he thoroughly deserves.

“I’ve said to him that I’m always here for him because times aren’t always good and aren’t always smooth playing in the Premier League at a high level, so I’ve told him to keep learning, keep improving and keep enjoying it.

“For him, I think the sky is the limit and I’ve always said that. He’s a top player and every day that I can help him along in his journey is something to be proud of.”

Rice, in turn, is thankful for the support he has received from his captain over the past four seasons and is now seeking to emulate the 31-year-old by enjoying a long and successful career in Claret and Blue.

“We were speaking the other day and when I told him I was signing, he actually said ‘You’ve got 400 games to go to catch up with me!’," laughed the No41.

“Nobes has been unbelievable with me since I’ve first come in with the first team and trained with them part-time at 16, he’s always been there to talk to and to help. When I got moved to the first team full-time, the way he has mentored me has gone to another level.

“To play with him on the pitch, you can tell why he’s been playing at the top in the Premier League for all his career. He was here the last time I signed a contract and I’ve just spoken to him now and it’s great to be staying here now with him and with this Club.”