In late April 2018, Declan Rice was awarded West Ham’s Young Player of the Year but just a short four months later, he was begging to go out on-loan.
So how exactly did that come about? After openly speaking to FourFourTwo, Declan Rice revealed that he wanted to leave West Ham for the season to join then-Championship side Aston Villa.
Why? It all came after the first game of the season. West Ham arrived at Anfield full of expectation with Manuel Pellegrini at the helm and £100 million worth of new talent on display.
But at half-time, West Ham were 2-0 down against the Reds and Declan Rice was substituted after failing to help stop an onslaught of Liverpool attacks.
For the next three Premier League matches, Rice wasn’t even in the 18-man squad and faced an uphill battle of trying to get himself back in contention.
The youngster said: “I wasn’t sure if I was ready to play regularly in the Premier League.” But, of course, we know how the story ends.
Despite his best attempts to get away from the London Stadium, Manuel Pellegrini made sure he stayed put and what an inspired decision that proved to be.
The Chilean boss spoke to Rice and laughed off his attempts to leave, “You’re not going on-loan!” he said, “You’re going to stay and you’re going to play!”
Sure enough that’s exactly what happened. After playing 34 times in the Premier League, Rice earned himself a call-up to the England National Team and was also nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year.
The impact of Manuel Pellegrini’s words and wisdom simply cannot go unnoticed in this. To have a Premier League winning manager insist you’re good enough to play and stay in the team is a massive confidence booster and a sign of how talented Declan Rice really is.
The turnaround was complete. Declan Rice went from fearing he wasn’t good enough to playing in the Premier League league to being one of the standout players of the season.
This is a story for the aspiring footballers, the youngsters out there who look up to players like Declan Rice.
It’s a tale of never giving up, no matter what you or other people think.
Declan Rice has yet again been selected in the England national squad after a strong start to the campaign with the Hammers.
Alongside Mark Noble at the base of midfield, the two have combined to offer both creativity and defensive work-rate.
The West Ham captain has all the experience and is a calming influence for everyone including the fans. No matter how much he is doubted, he continually proves that with him in the team, West Ham play better.
This season has proved exactly that. Noble was missing for the games against Manchester City and Brighton, games which West Ham amassed a total of one point.
Since Declan Rice was once again paired with Noble for the matches against Watford and Norwich, the Hammers have taken maximum points.
He and Noble continue to be the heartbeat of West Ham’s midfield and threaten to do exactly that for seasons to come, despite their differing ages.