Declan Rice

Looking back on Declan Rice’s 2021/22 season...

Before the season

Declan Rice’s performances last summer at UEFA Euro 2020 – where he started all seven games for England as the Three Lions reached their first major final since 1966 – had already seen much of the world realise what West Ham United fans already knew: the Irons had a world-class talent on their hands.

For the 2019/20 Hammer of the Year had already enjoyed a superb 2020/21 season in Claret & Blue going into that tournament, captaining the side in 22 of the 32 Premier League games he had featured in as the Irons enjoyed their best league campaign in generation, yielding a sixth-placed finish and UEFA Europa League football.

The challenge for Rice heading into 2021/22, then, was to continue to burgeon.

How did 2021/22 go?


Whereas many players across European football struggled to build on their impressive showings at last summer’s finals, Rice has only gone from strength to strength, playing in a more advanced role for the Hammers and making his presence felt at both ends of the pitch.

The outstanding midfielder led by example once again in 2021/22, making 50 appearances across four competitions, scoring five goals, assisting four more, and captaining the Irons on over 40 occasions.

The England played more minutes and made more tackles, interceptions and passes than any other Hammer, illustrating his consistency and commitment to the Claret and Blue cause – earning him the 2021/22 Betway Hammer of the Year trophy, and a nomination for Premier League Young Player of the Season, in the process.

On the international stage, as well, Rice has continued to flourish as one of the first names on his country’s teamsheet, becoming the first West Ham United player since Trevor Brooking in June 1981 to score in a qualifier for England with a strike in September’s 4-0 win over Hungary.

As one talented midfielder hangs up his boots in Mark Noble, another Academy of Football graduate has emerged as a natural leader in east London: Declan Rice.

Declan Rice


2021/22 highlights

Such is Rice’s inexorable quality that the midfielder can influence every aspect of the games he plays in – particularly on the grand stage of the Europa League this year.

Firstly, it was Rice who wore the captain’s armband at the Stadion Maksimir in mid-September; on his 150th appearance for the Club, it was the No41 who inspired the Irons’ impressive team performance in a 2-0 win away at Dinamo Zagreb – West Ham’s first-ever game in the Europa League proper, capped with an unforgettable Rice solo goal.

And as the Hammers’ stature on the continent grew, so did, seemingly, the imperiousness of Rice’s displays, the midfielder captaining the Hammers in all six knockout games, including that famous win over Sevilla in the round of 16.

But it was at the Parc Olympique Lyonnais where another of Rice’s season highlights would arrive: the midfielder collected a loose header on the stroke of half-time and placed home an accurate finish to cap a magnificent captain’s display in a 3-0 win (4-1 on aggregate), putting the Hammers into their first European semi-final since 1976.

Standout stat

Evidencing his evolution into a driving midfielder this season, Rice ranked third in the Premier League for ball carries into the final third in 2021-22 (between Manchester City duo Bernardo Silva and Kevin De Bruyne), while topping the charts for midfielders for most passes played into the final third. 

Season by Numbers

Appearances: 50 (36 Premier League, 10 UEFA Europa League, 3 FA Cup, 1 EFL Cup)
Minutes Played: 4,422
Goals: 5 (1 Premier League, 3 UEFA Europa League, 1 FA Cup)
Assists: 4 (all Premier League)

Next up in 2022/23?

Having continued to go from strength to strength in his development into a complete midfielder, Rice – vice-captain this season – is likely to be a firm contender to take on the West Ham United armband full-time next year, with close friend and mentor Noble retiring at the end of 2021/22.

Having achieved so much under his leadership already this season, the challenge for Rice and the Hammers will be to sustain such impressive progress in the upcoming campaign.

Before then, Rice is likely to be involved in England’s four UEFA Nations League fixtures this summer, having cemented his status as a key cog in the Three Lions’ midfield engine.

Season Ticket renewals open for 2022/23 Premier League season