EXCLUSIVE By Wayne Veysey
West Ham have cranked up the Declan Rice propaganda machine after what they felt was media misrepresentation of his claim he could thrive at Manchester United, Football Insider can reveal.
The England international, 20, opened the door to playing for a club like United in an interview with FourFourTwo magazine but insisted he is “loving it at West Ham” and wants to be regarded as a Hammers legend.
A West Ham source has told Football Insider how club officials are “disappointed” and “angry” at how sections of the football media have portrayed Rice’s comments.
The club have taken a proactive stance to addressing the issue and have deliberately published pro-Rice content on their various media platforms over the last week.
The positive spin is aimed at making clear how much West Ham value their golden boy as well as putting to bed any suggestion he is hankering for a move to an elite club.
— West Ham United (@WestHam) September 8, 2019
Asked by FourFourTwo about reports linking him with Man United, Rice said: “Don’t get me wrong, I think I’ve got the ability to play for a club like that.
“But it’s all about the timing and I don’t think the timing is right for me at all. I’ve still got so much to learn.
“I’m loving it at West Ham, the connection between me and the supporters is special. I’ve become one of the fans’ favourites and the manager likes me. It’s the best place for me to play my football.”
Rice signed a contract with West Ham last December that runs until 2024 after he established himself as an undisputed first choice.
The former Chelsea youth was transformed by Manuel Pellegrini into a midfield anchorman at the start of last season and he has had a remarkable 12 months.