By George Overhill

4th Feb, 2022 | 7:40am

Declan Rice says he speaks to idol, John Terry 'all the time' amid speculation on West Ham future

Declan Rice has spoken about the relationship he has with “idol” John Terry amid speculation over his West Ham future following the January transfer window.

The Telegraph reported this week that Premier League rivals interested in the star midfielder’s signature had been “encouraged” by the lack of January signings at the London Stadium ahead of proposed summer bids.

And with the European Champions one of the sides reportedly chasing him, Rice admits he is in regular contact with Terry.

He told Gary Neville on The Overlap, when asked about who his childhood idol was: “John Terry. I speak to him a lot. I speak to him all the time really.

“For me growing up, being a Chelsea fan, having a season ticket there, going to all the games, being in the academy, just him, looking at him, everything was JT.

“When I was younger I said ‘if I make it, I want to be number 26’ but I feel like as I’ve got older now I’ve grown out of that and it would look a bit creepy if I was getting 26 on the back because of JT.

“He was amazing for me when I got released as well, he picked up the phone and didn’t have to, I was only 14 at the time and I was speaking to my idol.

“Yeah, we’ve got a good relationship.”

Strong pull

As the stand-in Hammers captain admits, it is well known that he and his family were Chelsea fans growing up, but have added West Ham to that thanks to his career.

The strong start to the season is in jeopardy of falling short of any of the big prizes due to the teams around them in the league all holding multiple games in hand.

And if reports are true that Chelsea and the two Manchester sides are to take advantage if the Irons do not qualify for next season’s Champions League, it will make fans edgy to think of their hero returning back to their London rivals.

Rice has more than proven his loyalty to West Ham following his Chelsea past, but links come back into focus with his future on the line again now.

His friendship with fellow Blues academy product Mason Mount is prominent and the news that he regularly communicates with the former Stamford Bridge captain regularly will only increase the fear that the voices in his ear will send him back to West London.

In other West Ham news, this Hammers star has reacted to the club not signing a striker in January.