West Ham United assistant manager Kevin Nolan is ‘delighted’ that Declan Rice hit the ground running at Arsenal after the England midfielder’s club-record summer transfer.

The Emirates Stadium natives broke the bank to coax Rice from east to north London in July. Arsenal paid West Ham an initial £100m, rising to £105m, to land their captain. His final act as a Hammers player was also lifting the Europa Conference League title in Prague this June.

Rice came up from the academy set-up at London Stadium to become one of the Irons’ most important players. He joined the West Ham fold in 2013 as a 14-year-old after Chelsea opted to release the young prospect. Yet Arsenal now reap the rewards of the Blues’ clear mistake.

Arsenal midfielder Declan Rice vs Manchester United in Premier League after signing from West Ham United
Photo by Jacques Feeney/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

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Declan Rice has hit the ground running after signing for Arsenal

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta started Rice in all four of the Gunners’ Premier League games before the international break. He also started in the Community Shield against Manchester City at Wembley. While Rice scored his first goal for Arsenal to help beat Manchester United.

The 24-year-old tried his luck in the 96th minute after receiving Bukayo Saka’s corner at the far post. Rice had options to cut the ball back to but elected to shoot and got a huge slice of luck. The ball ricocheted off Jonny Evans and squirmed underneath Andre Onana and home.

Arteta saw Rice instantly take to his plans at Emirates Stadium as the chief ball-winner in the engine room. His ability to win possession has shone through, whilst also able to spread the play. Yet some pundits have questioned whether Rice is doing enough for Arsenal right now.

Kevin Nolan is ‘delighted’ with the West Ham product’s form

Declan Rice and Kai Havertz before Community Shield after signing for Arsenal
Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Nolan is not one to question Rice’s output, though, as David Moyes’ No2 at West Ham feels Arsenal have a player with ‘everything’. He is also thrilled to see the 45-cap Three Lions star hit the ground running in north London. Rice left West Ham after playing 245 senior fixtures.

“I am just so delighted that he is doing so well,” Nolan told talkSPORT. “I genuinely believe when everyone is talking about [Jude] Bellingham, no one is mentioning how good Dec was last night [for England against Scotland] and what he does for Jude. It’s just great to see.”

Nolan continued: “For me, yeah, he’s definitely one of them [who can be a future England captain]. He has got everything. He’s got a maturity beyond his years and we have seen that in the last few years in the way he’s handled West Ham and the captaincy.

“He has gone to a top club in terms of Arsenal who are fighting for the Champions League. I am not saying we’re not a top club. But he wanted to be in that next level, that next level of the Champions League year-in, year-out and trying to pip [Manchester] City to the title.”

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