By Sean Fisher

18th Nov, 2022 | 1:10pm

Declan Rice 'is the big one' to quit West Ham United - talkSPORT pundit

Declan Rice has been urged to quit West Ham in the pursuit of Champions League football by talkSPORT pundit Darren Bent.

Rice is currently with the England team ahead of the start of the 2022 World Cup, but rumours of where he’ll be playing his club football next season continue to rage on.

The Hammers captain has continuously been linked with moves to top clubs, with Eurosport naming him as a top target for both Chelsea and Manchester United.

Despite the rumours in recent seasons, Rice showed loyalty to West Ham and has grown to become the club’s captain. However, Bent has urged Rice to make a move this summer in order to start playing in the Champions League.

Speaking via talkSPORT’s YouTube channel (1m 52s), Bent said: “Declan Rice is the big one. He’s been incredibly loyal to West Ham – he’s their captain and he’s everything about that club, he loves the club.

“But someone of that quality should be looking at Champions League football, or with a team competing at that end of the table.

“West Ham have been there or thereabouts but I mean a team pushing for major honours and looking to get into the Champions League. I think he’s on that level and getting to that level will improve him as a player.”

Give it a rest

There’s a time and a place to be discussing Rice’s future, but to do it before a World Cup is harsh. He’s blatantly not going to leave West Ham halfway through the season in January, so the only speculation is over a summer move.

Admittedly, there is a big chance that Rice finally does leave the London Stadium this summer, but for now, he’ll be wanting to focus on training and playing with England ahead of a crucial World Cup.

Instead of urging Rice to up and leave West Ham, players and pundits should be praising the 23-year-old’s loyalty to the Hammers. It’s a trait hardly ever seen in modern football, and Rice has been a brilliant servant to the club despite all the drama around his future.

Should he depart in the summer, the club can hold no grudges and every fan will wish him well. Although many will be hoping for another season where he stays put in east London.

It’d be a huge blow to lose a world-class talent and the club captain all in one swoop, so hopefully a miraculous contract extension is agreed upon soon.