By Noel Whelan
Noel Whelan has insisted he is expecting Declan Rice to move on from West Ham next summer despite his “phenomenal loyalty” to the club.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 23-year-old will have developed a “taste” for playing in big occasions after his experience for England at Euro 2020 and the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.
According to 90min (4 October), Rice remains top of the wishlist at Chelsea despite the sacking of Thomas Tuchel last month.
🗣 “Dec [Rice] can be one of the world’s best midfielders.”
Thilo Kehrer says he doesn’t see a lot of midfielders with the range of strengths as Declan Rice pic.twitter.com/SPH50Nfl0A
The report also claims the West Ham captain himself expects to leave the London Stadium if a bid arrives next summer.
Rice, who has previously made no secret of his desire to test his ability at the highest level, is out of contract in June 2024.
Whelan claimed speculation is not hampering the England star’s performances but “the writing is on the wall” about where his future lies.
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He told Football Insider’s Ewan Kingsbury: “I think it’s probably a given that he will leave – West Ham will be bracing themselves.
“He’s shown he’s willing to fight for the club and repay the club for what they’ve done for him.
“But when you’ve been in a big European Championship final and playing at the World Cup – it’s going to be difficult not to get a taste for that sort of occasion.
“Rice, even if West Ham do get into Europe, will want to be playing in the Champions League and fighting for Premier League titles.
“I think that’s something that’s in the back of his mind. But it’s not hampering his West Ham performances – he’s one of the best professionals out there.
“But the writing is on the wall. I don’t think he’ll be a West Ham player next season – even if he has shown phenomenal loyalty up until now. He’ll get a phenomenal offer from a top club, no doubt”.
In other news, pundit claims Tomas Soucek is “under threat” at West Ham after “unbelievable” reveal.