Declan Rice should look to leave West Ham in the summer and a strong World Cup will make that much more likely, says Jamie Carragher.
The Hammers captain is certain to start for England in Qatar, and the Sky Sports pundit sees exactly why, paying him what he believes is the “greatest of compliments” by calling the 23-year-old “old-fashioned” in that he is a complete midfielder like former Manchester United leader Roy Keane or Liverpool and Rangers legend Graeme Souness.
Rice was given a £150million price tag last season by David Moyes and while Carragher believes the rise of Jude Bellingham has put him “in the shade”, he expects both the Three Lions midfielders to be headed for major moves where they can challenge for honours.
In his Telegraph column on Sunday (20 November) the former Liverpool defender said: “With respect to West Ham, Rice does not play in domestic games where a title or trophy is at stake.
“The latter stages of the Euros or World Cup is the closest he can get to the tension and mental challenge of Champions League football, which is why in his case scouts will give more kudos to his performance for his country than his club.
“West Ham fans will not appreciate me suggesting the World Cup is a useful shop window for Rice. The most realistic will understand my point.
“To me, Rice should be looking to move this summer, giving himself a good six or seven years at a Champions League club. How much further can he take his game at West Ham?
“His current deal runs until 2024, although there is said to be an option to extend another year. He will be 25 by then and the game moves on so quickly that the once up-and-coming star guaranteed to attract the biggest clubs can quickly fall down the pecking order when the next prodigy emerges off the production line.”
Here we go again
There was endless speculation through last season as the Irons impressed in the Premier League and the Europa League, but the club successfully held onto their skipper over the summer.
It was never going to go away forever, and with him set to be key for Southgate’s side on the world stage, the exit talk is ramping back up again.
The hope prior to the season was that the long-awaited investment in the squad would pay off and take the club to the next level, which would then convince Rice to stay and seek success in east London.
But that hasn’t happened so far, and there are questions hovering over Moyes with the Hammers currently 16th in the Premier League.
That may make it inevitable that Rice moves on in the summer, unless he suddenly decides to sign a new contract, because he could still command major money with two years left on his deal.
As much as West Ham fans will be hoping to see their leader thrive in an England shirt for the chances of international glory and a boost in the second half of the season, they may also now have in the back of their minds the need to maximise the fee in the summer if he is to move on.