Declan RiceEnglish Footballer
Declan Rice is an English footballer who plays as a midfielder for West Ham United.
• Date of birth: 14 January 1999
• Age: 24 years old
• Place of birth: Kingston upon Thames, England
• Nationality: English
• Position: Midfielder
• Height: 185cm / 6ft 1ins
• Weight: 80kg / 176lbs
• Wages: £62,000 per week (Estimate)
The 24-year-old was born in January 1999 and began his youth footballing career at Chelsea FC.
He then left the Blues to join fellow London side West Ham United’s youth set-up when he was 14 years old.
Rice signed his first professional contract with West Ham United in 2015 and went on to establish himself as a regular in the first team for the Hammers.
After having represented the Republic of Ireland at youth level, as his grandparents are from Cork, Rice switched allegiances and opted to represent England at senior level, making his debut for the Three Lions in March 2019.
He was a regular fixture in the England team who reached the Euro 2020 final in the summer of 2021.
So, what do we know about Rice’s journey to becoming the talented midfielder he is today? This is his story.
Early Life, Parents And Upbringing
Declan Rice was born on 14 January 1999 in Kingston upon Thames, England. He was also raised in Kingston upon Thames – a borough situated in south west London.
His grandparents on his father Sean’s side – Jack and Margaret – were from Douglas in Cork before they moved to England.
Rice showed plenty of promise from an early age and joined Chelsea FC’s academy in 2006 when he was just seven years old.
He spent around eight years at the south west London club’s youth set-up before ultimately being released in 2014, when he was 14 years old.
“I used to go to Chelsea to watch games as a young kid,” said Rice in an interview in April 2018 after West Ham’s 1-1 draw at Chelsea FC. “I joined them when I was seven but was released at 14 so it did mean something special to play against them.”
Rice has revealed that former Chelsea FC captain John Terry spoke to him at length after his release from the south west London side and the pair have remained friends ever since. Rice has described Terry as one of his boyhood footballing idols.
“Me and John are really good friends. When I got released from Chelsea, he gave me a call and we spoke for about 45 minutes,” Rice told the Irish Mirror in 2018. “I told him I was going to West Ham. He had been there. He was my idol growing up.
“To ask him a load of questions on the phone, and for him to answer them back, I’ll always remember that call and the stuff he said to this day.”
After being released by Chelsea FC, Rice joined West Ham’s youth set-up when he was 14 years old, in 2014.
West Ham United
It wasn’t long before Rice made inroads at West Ham United and he signed his first professional contract with the club in December 2015.
Rice made his senior debut for West Ham United on 21 May 2017, coming on as a late substitute in the Hammers’ 2-1 win over Burnley in the Premier League.
The 2017-18 season was a breakthrough campaign for Rice, who established himself as a regular fixture in the first team.
He was rewarded for his fine form with a new and improved contract at West Ham United in December 2018. The contract was set to run until 2024, with the option for a further year.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” said Rice after penning the deal. “Without a doubt, the plan was always to stay at West Ham. I’ve had the support from the fans, from the players and from the manager and now, to get it done and commit myself to this club is a very special moment and I’m over the moon.”
On 12 January 2019, Rice scored his first goal for West Ham United, netting in a 1-0 victory over Arsenal at the London Stadium in the Premier League.
In the 2019-20 season, Rice featured in every one of West Ham United’s 38 games in the top flight, playing every single minute.
Rice initially chose to represent the Republic of Ireland at youth level, and he said that it was a decision he took partly to honour his paternal grandparents.
“They’ll be looking down on me very proud,” said Rice about his grandparents and his decision to play for Ireland in an interview in March 2018. “My dad is really, really proud. He wants me to play for Ireland.”
Rice represented the Republic of Ireland at Under-16, Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 level.
However, he opted to switch his allegiances to England at senior level in February 2019.
“This has been an extremely difficult decision and, in all honesty, not one I ever expected to be making at this stage of my career,” Rice said after announcing the decision. “Like so many people around the world, I consider myself to be of mixed nationality.
“I am a proud Englishman, having been born and raised in London. However, I am just as proud of my family’s Irish heritage and my affinity and connection with the country. I have equal respect and love for both England and Ireland and therefore the national team I choose to represent is not a clear-cut, simple selection. Particularly not for a young lad who never dreamed of being in this position.
“Ultimately, it is a personal decision that I have made with my heart and my head, based on what I believe is best for my future.”
Rice made his senior debut for England on 22 March 2019, coming on as a second-half substitute in a 5-0 win over Czech Republic at Wembley in Euro 2020 qualifying.
Rice scored his first goal for England on 18 November 2020, netting the opener in a 4-0 win over Iceland in the Uefa Nations League.
He made seven appearances for England as they reached the final of Euro 2020, where they lost to Italy on penalties in the summer of 2021.
Life Away From The Pitch
Rice is good friends with Chelsea FC midfielder Mason Mount. The pair have known each other since childhood after both having attended the Chelsea FC academy.
“Mason and Declan are best friends,” said Mount’s father Tony in 2019. “They always have been and still are now. They talk to each other all the time. When Declan got released at 14, we were all devastated.”
What Have Others Said?
Former Manchester United star Gary Neville, speaking about Declan Rice after having interviewed him for his YouTube channel in early 2022: “Thought of the week: Don’t go too early. This is something that I often say to myself in punditry. You form a view on something either in haste or we always tell ourselves sayings like: ‘trust your first instincts’, ‘I knew I didn’t like them after five minutes’.
“However, I interviewed Declan Rice this week for The Overlap and I judged him as a young player at West Ham. I have to say I got it completely wrong. What an outstanding young person. Authoritative, confident, humble and quite simply the most impressive young footballer I’ve interviewed in 11 years. He’s also a fantastic talent and I went too early!”