Declan Rice can be a West Ham legend – Collison

Declan Rice


Declan Rice has all the attributes and characteristics of a future West Ham United captain, according to former midfielder Jack Collison. 

And the Academy coach is not ruling out Rice establishing himself as a true Club legend. 

The 20-year-old’s stock continues to rise. It was just under two years ago that a fresh-faced Rice stepped onto the pitch as a senior West Ham player and, in the time since, the youngster has established himself in the Irons first team – making 65 appearances – scored his first two goals, and made his England debut, earning two caps in the last international window. 

Fellow Academy graduate Jack Collison believes Rice’s development is a fantastic advertisement for the work that West Ham does with young players at Chadwell Heath, and believes the midfielder is well on his way to becoming a stalwart for the Irons for years to come. 

Leadership qualities are already evident in Rice, according to Collison, and the former Welsh international says the No41 could one day be heralded alongside the true greats in West Ham United’s history. 

Declan Rice


“Declan has been fantastic,” Collison said at the official unveiling of West Ham’s new Academy headquarters at Chadwell Heath. “He really is the flag bearer for the academy at the moment. It’s great for us as a club to have someone like Declan, so fresh out of the under-23s, fresh into the first team who is going from strength to strength.

“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.
“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. I think he has an opportunity to really knuckle down and he 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 managers, will build the upcoming squads around Declan Rice.”

In recent interviews, Rice has credited Club captain Mark Noble in having a huge role in his development from nervous youngster to first team regular at West Ham, and Collison knows only too well the qualities Noble brings to the Irons. 

Nobes and Collison


The duo played together in Claret and Blue for almost seven years, helping the Club return to the Premier League in 2013, and Collison says the Noble’s investment in the welfare of all involved at West Ham makes him a truly special character.
“You 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.
“West Ham is a real unique club and a lot of the players from abroad 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. He has been there and he has done it all.”