Declan Rice has now outlined the ‘crazy’ difference he has noticed since completing a transfer to Arsenal from London rivals West Ham United during the summer window.
Declan Rice became the joint-most expensive British player to date with Jack Grealish, when he became Arsenal’s club-record transfer earlier in July. But Jude Bellingham’s transfer to Real Madrid will eclipse them after add-ons.
Rice left the Hammers as the Irons’ club captain six years after enjoying his first-team debut in east London. Slaven Bilic brought the midfielder through from West Ham’s academy as a centre-half in May 2017. Rice would go on to play 245 matches with 15 goals and 13 assists.
Declan Rice left West Ham as a European cup-winning captain
Every complete season that Rice spent at the London Stadium saw the London-born anchor prove essential. He appeared 204 times in the Premier League across a potential 221 games while starting 190. Manuel Pellegrini also first handed him the captaincy in December 2019.
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Rice’s last act as a West Ham player even saw the 43-cap England international lift the Irons’ first major trophy since 1980. He led the Hammers to the Europa Conference League title in 2022/23. The London Stadium outfit beat Fiorentina 2-1 in Prague after a 90th minute goal.
Declan Rice outlines the biggest difference he’s noticed at Arsenal
Now, Rice is settling in to his new surroundings after joining Arsenal ahead of the club’s pre-season tour in America. He made his non-competitive debut under Mikel Arteta in their 5-0 thrashing of the MLS All-Stars. Rice also got his first start as they lost to Manchester United.
Life with the Emirates Stadium team, then, has got off to a mixed start. But Rice has already noticed a big difference between the tactical demands required to play for Arsenal than he was accustomed to with West Ham. He made 179 of his Irons outings under David Moyes.
“It’s crazy, it’s honestly crazy,” he told Sky Sports. “I’m already seeing football in a completely different way. You think you know football growing up and when you play. But when you meet managers like Mikel, you realise you don’t really know anything about football.
“There are different styles and different ways of playing that I’ve never experienced before. Of course, the way I played at West Ham is completely different to the way Mikel plays.
“So, it’s going to take some time to adapt. But I’m really eager to learn to improve, to ask questions, to do one-to-one training to improve and try and get it as quickly as possible.
“Hopefully, once all that starts to click, Arsenal will be amazing. And, of course, I want to go up a few levels as well, which I know I can. So, yeah, it’s really important that I adapt.”