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'I get battered on social media' - Man Utd & Chelsea-linked Rice reveals 'crazy' transfer talk teasing

1:30 PM IST 01/05/22
Declan Rice, West Ham 2021-22
The England international has seen his name pinned next to eye-watering transfer fees in reports

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has revealed that he is teased on social media and by his team-mates over transfer speculation linking him with a big-money move away from the club.

With clubs such as Manchester United and Chelsea said to be circling ahead of the summer transfer window, a price tag of £100 million ($126m)-plus has been slapped on Rice according to reports.

The England international's current deal with the Hammers does not expire until 2024, with the club having the option of a one-year extension, so any bid to prise him away from the London Stadium will have to be substantial.

What has Declan Rice said about transfer rumours?

Rice remains grounded regarding his future, acknowledging that transfer speculation comes with the territory when playing well.

Describing the fees reported as "crazy", the former Chelsea academy player insists that he has to try to ignore the din of the rumour mill.

"I've had two or three top seasons with West Ham and the top clubs around the country are always going to be watching. It's not just me, it's the same for every player," Rice told Sky Sports.

"I think it's important not to get too carried away with that. We've had a good season with West Ham and there have been big games I've had to play in so I feel like my focus has always been on that. If I thought about other things, I'd get carried away and that wouldn't be fair on the team or the manager.

"I can't help speculation, even with the numbers that get talked about. I get battered for it all the time on social media, but I can't help that. I can help by going on the pitch and performing as best as I can.

"They [West Ham team-mates] wind me up all the time. It's crazy to speak about to be honest, so I just kind of block it out and do what I do best and that's play football."

FWA nomination spurs Declan Rice to 'get better'

Rice's performances for West Ham have thrust him into a bracket alongside some of the Premier League's established stars, something which is captured by his nomination for the FWA Footballer of the Year award.

Mohamed Salah ultimately won the award, with Kevin De Bruyne coming second and Rice placing third, but the midfielder nonetheless takes confidence from the recognition.

"I would like to have won it, but obviously up against Salah and De Bruyne it's hard to say, because I can never imagine putting my name with those types of players," noted Rice.

"To come third, it shows that people have appreciated what I've done on the football pitch. This season, I feel like I've taken another step in the right direction in my career, but I'm still only 23 and trust me, I know myself and I've got so much more that I can let out of the bag.

"I know that, my coaches tell me that and I think it just comes with time and as I get older, it'll keep coming and coming. I feel like you're only seeing the start of me. I'm going to keep pushing and getting better."

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