13 things you might not know about Declan Rice

Declan Rice Headshot

Declan Rice is well-known to football fans across the world - and not just our supporters keen to watch see him donning our famous red and white, having followed his career with West Ham United and England.

However, how much do you really know about our latest arrival?

To test your knowledge, we've dug out some interesting facts to enlighten you more about Declan, so here are 13 things you may not have known about our new number 41:

The magic number

Declan Rice's number 41 shirt

Just as he did at the London Stadium, Declan has opted to wear the number 41 shirt following his move to us, but why? 

According to him, there is no special reason for staying loyal to 41 - it was the number he was given at academy level by the Hammers kitman but now he feels it could hamper his performances if he was to change, hence why he's now picked the same number now he's in north London.

Playing with an idol?

Declan Rice and Jorginho

In the past, Declan has been asked which players he has looked up to and tried to emulate. He has listed Sergio Busquets and N'Golo Kante as two, while he has also studied Patrick Vieira and Yaya Toure closely.

However, he could soon be lining up alongside someone else he's taken inspiration from, as he was quoted in 2019: “I study for myself, my own games and others. I like Jorginho, the way he plays and passes. There’s stuff I can add to my game.”

Familiar faces

Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka celebrate scoring for England

Declan has shared the pitch with Bukayo Saka 21 times for England since both featured together for the first time in the 2020 UEFA Nations League game against Belgium. Four of those came at Euro 2020 while the pair started all-but one match together at the 2022 World Cup. 

He’s also shared a Three Lions dressing room with other Gunners including Aaron Ramsdale, Ben White, and Emile Smith Rowe, meaning there will be plenty of familiar faces to help him settle into life at London Colney.

Steady with Eddie

Declan Rice and Eddie Nketiah

Another player Declan knows well is Eddie Nketiah. the pair were teammates as kids when they were part of Chelsea's academy, when he used to tuck into the striker's home-cooked cuisine!

"When we were at Chelsea we used to go on long aways and used to travel on the coach," Declan has said previously. "Eddie used to bring a massive bowl, like a big jollof rice to feed the whole team. The lads used to be buzzing over it!"

First goal flashback 

Declan Rice celebrates scoring for West Ham United against Arsenal in 2019

Nothing beats that feeling of scoring your first goal for your club, and funnily enough Declan’s very first strike to rattle the back of the net came at our expense in January 2019.

It also happened to be the goal that ended up winning the game at the London Stadium as the Hammer ran out 1-0 victors during Unai Emery's time in charge - in fact Nketiah is the only player named in our matchday squad that day that is still at the club.

Every second counts

Declan Rice and Frank Lampard

In the 2019/20 season Declan became the fourth player aged 21 and under to play every minute of a Premier League season, racking up a total of 3,420 minutes on the clock.

He joined Gary Kelly, Frank Lampard, and Wayne Bridge to manage this achievement, with his consistency also seeing him complete 50 appearances in all competitions back-to-back in the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons.

Experience despite his age

Declan Rice celebrates scoring for West Ham United

In April this year Declan became the ninth-youngest player to reach 200 Premier League appearances, but the 24-year-old is the youngest player currently plying his trade in the division to have hit that tally.

At the Hammers he also became the fourth-youngest player to achieve a double-century of Premier League matches for a single club, joining former Gunner Cesc Fabregas on the list. 

Rice’s rankings

Declan Rice playing for West Ham against Newcastle

Last season Declan racked up some impressive Premier League stats across the campaign. He was ranked first in the league for possession won and interceptions, as well as being second for carries and in the top 10 for total tackles. 

He also hit a league-high best of four goals for the campaign, and only Bruno Fernandes was involved in more transition phases from defence to attack in the 2022/23 Premier League season, with Declan achieving a total of 261. 

Legendary leader

Declan Rice lifts the UEFA Conference League trophy

Declan made history once again this season when he helped guide West Ham to the Europa Conference League title, becoming the youngest player at 24 years and 144 days to captain an English team to victory in a major UEFA competition since fellow Hammers skipper Bobby Moore in the 1965 Cup Winners' Cup final.

In fact, only three Hammers captains have ever lifted major silverware for the side, with legendary defender Billy Bonds completing the esteemed trio.

Hammers to Gunners

Jack Wilshere and Declan Rice

Declan becomes the 20th player to feature for both West Ham and Arsenal in the Premier League since its formation in 1992, joining the likes of Jack Wilshere - whom he played with for two years between 2018 and 2020, Freddie Ljungberg, Alex Song, Ian Wright and Lukasz Fabianski. 

However, remarkably Declan is the first-ever player to join us directly from the east London club, despite the short geographical distance between the two clubs. 

Getting shirty

Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard

Declan has previously shown off his football shirt collections at his home, which includes an Arsenal wall where he has framed shirts signed by Wright, Wilshere, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and David Luiz. 

His archive includes match-worn jerseys from opponents he has faced, kits he has been gifted and ones he has purchased himself, with one of the latest additions coming when he was pictured swapping with Martin Odegaard inside the London Stadium tunnel back in April, and getting it signed by our skipper. 

On the mantelpiece

Declan Rice with the Conference League trophy

Declan is no stranger to a personal accolade, having picked up an end-of-season award in six out of his seven seasons spent at West Ham. That includes three Young Player of the Year awards between 2017 and 2019, which were followed by three Player of the Year prizes across the next four seasons, including each of the last two.

He was recently also recognised by UEFA by being named Europa Conference League Player of the Season in 2022/23 and featured in the competition's Team of the Season, having been named in the Europa League version 12 months earlier.

Off the pitch

Declan Rice playing darts

Declan has many hobbies away from football, and especially enjoys playing golf in his spare time, while he also has a dartboard and pool table at home.

He also is a sneakerhead and boasts a large collection of footwear,  enjoys walking his dogs and playing computer games, while he sticks to the same pre-match meal of sea bass and rice regardless on what time the kick-off may be. 

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