By 90Min
May 29, 2019

West Ham's hottest prospect Declan Rice has played down rumours linking him with a big move to Manchester United this summer, insisting he is still fully focused on his current club.

It's clear that Rice's mind is fully set on the task in hand, being preparation for the UEFA Nations League and the Hammers' 2019/20 campaign after that, but he's still touched on his desire to one day play in the Champions League.

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Whilst he wouldn't be doing that next season if he were to join United this summer, the centre midfielder has been linked with the Red Devils ever since breaking into England's senior squad.

The Guardian reports that Rice addressed these rumours, but they seem to be nothing more than that at this early stage in the window, as he said: "I know there's speculation but I signed a five-year contract with West Ham during the season."

He recognised his popularity in west London, stating: "I've got a great connection with the fans; the fans love me and I love them and that's the way it is at the moment. I'm not thinking about anything else, for sure."

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But his country will be the priority at this current moment in time. Rice was one of the early arrivals to St George's Park with players from ChelseaLiverpool and Tottenham Hotspur still tending to club duty, meaning England only have 17 of their 25-man squad on-site.

They kick-off their Nations League finals campaign against the Netherlands on June 6 hoping to secure their first trophy since Le Tournoi in 1997.

Rice has emphasised the importance of making history by being the first country to win this tournament, adding: "I think it's massive. It's really important."

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Along with earning a trophy, he also highlighted how it would help England going into future competitions: "With the squad Gareth has put together, with the players that we have, for sure we've got to be looking at the Nations League and winning it," he said. "It would stand us in good stead for the future and the Euros next year and the World Cup after that."

Rice is revelling at the opportunity of facing Ajax's Champions League heroes, particularly Frenkie de Jong, who has recently secured a move to Barcelona.

He said: "He's a top player and I think you've seen that in the Champions League ... It would be great to come up against him in the Nations League.

"When you start out in football you always want to play at the top. You want to play in the Champions League. If you were in football and you didn't want to do that then there would be no point playing."

He's clearly in no rush to make a move happen, but his comments seem to suggest a transfer to one of Europe's elite could, eventually, be on the cards for the young West Ham prodigy.

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