It might be spooky season but Declan Rice isn’t planning on pulling any pranks this Halloween!
“I’ve not even thought about it,” he said. “I’ve got to be careful with who I pick and choose because I don’t want anyone who doesn’t want to join in!
“To be honest, I don’t know who I would prank. If I got someone like Zinchenko, I know he’d come back 10 times harder.
“At Halloween I’m always the one getting scared to be honest, so this year I’m going to try to stay away from it.”
One player who makes Declan feel more relaxed is Jorginho. Arsenal legend Thierry Henry recently said that the Rice-Jorginho pivot makes him feel comfortable too.
“I think I have so much respect for him,” Declan said. “We used to play against each other all the time and we’d always be compared to each other for some reason.
“When he was at Chelsea and I was at West Ham, I always respected him as a footballer and knew how good he was because I played against him. It’s the same with Thomas [Partey], I just know how he wants to play football. He’s so good on the ball and can play little passes, he’s always thinking forward.
“If he has to keep the ball safe he does that for the team. I think the same way and want to keep the ball ticking over and get it forward as quick as possible. We just have that relationship on the pitch where we bounce off each other.
“I think it helps with him playing the deeper role and him being a bit more advanced. I can get up the top end of the pitch to press and he can cover me behind, so it’s a relationship that’s working well at the minute.”
Declan, who recently scored an outstanding David Beckham-esque finish in our 2-2 draw against Chelsea, was asked to elaborate on his viewing of the new Netflix documentary.
“The documentary had been out for two weeks already and I’d not watched it,” he said. “I heard everyone going on about it and literally the opening scene is him scoring that goal at Wimbledon. I had a smile on my face seeing how young he was in the Premier League for the first time. It took me back to my first time being on the pitch.
“For him to have no fear of taking a shot on and not worrying about where it went, when the ball came to me I would usually have passed it to Leo [Trossard], but I took the shot on and it was perfection in the end in terms of where I placed it, so it was a good inspiration.”
Speaking of Leo, Declan explained that the Belgian was one of the first teammates to help him settle in at the club during the summer.
“Leo was the first person I met in the treatment room so I was talking to him,” he said. “On the plane to America he was sat next to me. We have loads in common to be honest. Since then, we’ve come on leaps and bounds. He’s bouncy and happy.”
It’s clear that Declan has made a big impact following his arrival in the summer, and he’s enjoying it just as much as the rest of us.
“It’s obviously very special,” he said. “When I signed for Arsenal, they’d not won a Premier League or a Champions League for so long, so when I came here I wanted to be one of those types of players that can make a big impact, like Virgil van Dijk did at Liverpool, spurring the team on to go and win big things.
“Looking at the team last year, it was incredible, young and exciting, so coming in was so easy to settle in and impose myself. I’ve been really lucky because everyone has been so amazing which has made the transition really comfortable.
“We came so close last year and this year we can go one better, for sure. It’s just about building momentum, keep winning football matches, sticking together with the fans and keeping that positive energy around the club. I’m sure we can achieve great things. It’s going to be a challenge and we have to rise to it.”
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