By Saikat Mandal

23rd Sep, 2022 | 6:40pm

Rio Ferdinand drools over West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice

Rio Ferdinand has showered heaps of praise on West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice, saying he would pick him for the England World Cup squad straightaway.

The former Manchester United defender said on Rio Ferdinand Five that Rice could be looking to move away from London Stadium at some point, as he would want to win trophies in his career.

The 23-year-old was outstanding last season for the Hammers which Ferdinand described as “mad form”.

“Declan Rice. Standard. You’ve got to look at others. Jordan Henderson, injury at the beginning of the season. Kalvin Phillips, injured and hasn’t played. Declan, mad form last season,” said Ferdinand.

“It is this guy I don’t know where his ceiling is yet. That’s the interesting thing for me when I’m talking about Declan. People ask me how good is he. I love talking about him. He’s a great kid, always wants to learn but where is his ceiling I don’t know, because every season he’s bringing something new.

“He’ll come to England and he’ll be looking at Mason Mount, he’ll be looking at Reece James, he’ll be looking at Phil Foden and Jack Grealish and they’ve got trophies. That’s why you play the game.

“That’s all you’d be thinking. You’ll want to give the right amount of time to West Ham because he is a respectful guy, but there’s going to be a part of him that says I’ll need to (move).”

Future

Rice is arguably West Ham’s best player and an asset for the club.

He is a world-class midfielder and he should be one of the first names in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup unless he picks up a serious injury.

Ferdinand is absolutely spot on here. There’s still a lot of time left for Southgate to pick his squad, but at this moment, Rice should be there in the squad.

Regarding his future, it is something well documented. Rice has rejected several contract offers, but he is committed and has never agitated a move.

He is the skipper of the club and the fans adore him. He wants to see if the Hammers can match his ambition.

The Hammers have made a poor start to the season, and if that trend continues they would struggle to keep hold of Rice.

He is not motivated by money, so at some point, the club may decide to cash in on him as well. However, if West Ham do manage to secure a top-four spot, he can decide to sign a new contract as well.