Declan Rice was born in Kingston upon Thames, and began his youth career at the Chelsea academy. After his initial release at the age of 14, the youngster was snapped up by West Ham United. He broke into the Under-18 set-up in his first full season, while still on schoolboy forms. From there, he signed a two-year scholarship deal, representing both the Under-18s and the development squad – an age group above.
Rice signed his first professional contract just before his 17th birthday, and was eventually handed his debut on the final day of the 2016/17 Premier League season, as a late substitute in a 2-1 win away at Burnley. The then West Ham manager, Slaven Bilic, gave him his first start early in the following season, away at Southampton (below) – and Rice has been an integral part of the West Ham team, initially as a central defender, ever since. He has now made more than 50 Premier League appearances for a team now managed by Manuel Pellegrini.