Gabby Agbonlahor has claimed West Ham United will lose Declan Rice soon after the midfielder scored his first England goal against Hungary.
The Lowdown: Rice continues to impress
The Three Lions overcame a slow first half to score four second-half goals in Budapest to win 4-0 in their World Cup qualifying fixture. Rice neatly tucked the ball away for England’s fourth in another impressive display for Gareth Southgate‘s side.
Since making his debut in 2019 against the Czech Republic, Rice has missed only six games for his country and has become a constant figure in Southgate’s plans, partnering Kalvin Phillips in the European Championships.
With Chelsea linked with the holding midfielder, West Ham managed to keep hold of their man for the time being as they embark on participating in the Europa League group stages for the first time ever.
The Latest: A big move soon?
It won’t come as a surprise that Rice’s name is linked with some of the best teams in the country following his impressive performances for West Ham and England.
His goal on Thursday night will have the likes of Chelsea licking their lips after his right-footed curling strik was too powerful for RB Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi and snuck into the bottom corner.
Speaking to talkSPORT on Friday morning, three-time England international Agbonlahor stated: “I watched Rice and Phillips last night, they were outstanding.
“But what was going through my head is, how long can these two players stay at their clubs? How long can West Ham keep hold of Declan Rice?
“They’re all going to be talking whilst they’re away. ‘We’ve got Villarreal, Atalanta. We’ve got PSG (in the Champions League),’ and you’d have banter about it.
“I just can’t see them staying more than the season at their clubs. I feel like they’re going to want to go and play at the top. They’re getting it with their country, they’re going to want to get it with their clubs.”
The Verdict: Will Rice move on?
Given that Rice is competing in Europe for the first time in his career, it isn’t surprising he hasn’t forced a move away from the Hammers this summer. But Agbonlahor’s statement on Rice wanting to play at the top at club level will be a fear for West Ham fans.
The 22-year-old has always shown his quality and has come on leaps and bounds since his senior debut back in 2017. His 87% pass completion and 2.06 interceptions per 90 minutes set him up as a perfect replacement for Jorginho at Chelsea, for example.
Dubbed ‘an outstanding talent’ by BBC Pundit Chris Sutton this week, the time may eventually come for Rice to take his game to the next level if a huge offer comes in from a Champions League outfit, but it feels unlikely he would ever force his way out in acrimonious circumstances.
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