Declan Rice has confessed seeing his name in the transfer rumour mill can be ‘annoying’ at times.
The West Ham midfielder is one of the most wanted players in English football, with each of the traditional top four interested in striking a deal to sign Rice.
Among those suitors are Chelsea, Rice’s boyhood side, and 90min understands the Blues failed with a tentative enquiry for the 23-year-old earlier this summer, with West Ham instead keen to tie the midfielder down to a new contract.
Speaking to Sky Sports News, Rice confirmed he will remain at West Ham this season, taking the captain’s armband following the retirement of Mark Noble, and admitted he will keep working to drown out the transfer rumours.
“I’m going to be captain of West Ham this season. It’s an honour,” he said. “When I came into the team five years ago, I would have never thought I would be West Ham club captain one day. To take it from Nobes as well, it’s special.
“Everyone knows my relationships with the players here, the manager. I’ve never once complained, every time I put on the shirt it’s…just go out there and give 100%. Whatever happens off the pitch takes care of itself. I can’t control that. What I can control is going out there and trying to be the best player every time I put on the shirt.”
On whether he can get frustrated by the speculation, Rice admitted he does not enjoy being the focus of the transfer headlines.
“It is annoying because of the numbers that get attached to your name,” he said. “Obviously, you can’t control that at all.
“Stuff sometimes, you read and see and you don’t want to hear because it’s not true. Like I said, I can’t really control that. All I can do is go on the pitch, play football and be happy, and for the last couple of seasons, that’s what I’ve done. That’s the faith the manager has put in me. All that speculation, that’s what comes with playing well, I suppose.
“It’s completely out of my mind [on the pitch]. Nothing’s happened, nothing’s officially happened. I’ve always said, until anything actually happens, there’s no point talking about anything. I’m a West Ham player, I’ve got a contract with West Ham. I’ll always respect that. Every time I put on the shirt, I want to be the best player, I want to give 100%.”