Player Analysis: Declan Rice

Declan Rice: Who Is He? 

  • Name – Declan Rice 
  • Age – 01/14/1999 000 (21 years old)
  • Rookie Season / Team – 2015 / West Ham United
  • Nationality – English
  • International Caps (Goals) – 15 (1)
  • Position – Defensive Midfielder
  • Current Team / League – West Ham United / English Premier League  

Career Overview 

Declan Rice was born in Greater London and began his soccer journey at Chelsea, where he met best friend Mason Mount. At 14 years old, Rice was released, and he opted to join West Ham’s academy. He signed his first professional contract just over a year later and impressed in the Under-23s squad. 

These performances granted him his first senior-squad call-up in 2017, and he made his club debut in the final day of the 2017 season, coming on as a 91st minute substitute. He made his full debut in the second game of the 2017/18 season, against Southampton following a 30-minute appearance against Manchester United the week before. Between August and December Rice was in and out of the team, and did not have a dedicated position. During this time, he played as a Center-Back, Defensive Midfielder, Right-Back, and Left-Back. 

The second half of the season saw Rice play a greater role in the Hammers’ season. As a center-back, he played the full 90 minutes in nine of the last ten games. The next season started much the same, with Rice appearing playing the full ninety minutes in all but six games across the entire season, with three games out of the team at the start of the season. 

He scored his first senior goal for West Ham in January 2019 in the 1-0 win over Arsenal. Around this time, he also confirmed his allegiance to England and made his international debut in March, despite playing three times for the Republic of Ireland. At the end of the season, he won West Ham’s Player’s Player of the Season along with other individual accolades. 

During the 2019/20 season, Rice played every minute for West Ham and captained the team four times.

His Season So Far 

Like West Ham, rice has had an impressive season. He has nailed down the Defensive Midfielder position, making it his own and forming a fruitful double-pivot partnership with Tomáš Souček. Like the previous season, Rice has played every minute of football so far this season and has captained the team more often than not. 

He scored his first, and so far only, goal of the season against struggling Sheffield United in mid-February, and also scored his first international goal for England back in November in the 4-0 win against Iceland in the Nations League. Despite playing just 15 games for England so far, Rice has already highlighted himself as an important player for Southgate’s team, and is sure to be heavily featured at Euro 2021. 

How Do His Stats Look?

As a defensive midfielder, Rice’s stats are not as glamorous as his fellow countrymen playing in more ‘exciting’ positions. Unlike Jack Grealish or Mason Mount, Rice doesn’t have statistics that make investors and collectors salivate. 

Aside from goalkeepers, Defensive Midfielders will typically have the worst goal-to-game ratio in the team (unless you’re the aforementioned Souček). Across Rice’s entire career, he has four goals and five assists in all competitions for West Ham after 141 games. This gives him a ratio of 0.06 contributions per game. But a Defensive Midfielders’ role isn’t to score goals. So instead, it’s better to look at stats better associated with his role. 

At the end of the 2019/20 season, Rice led West Ham for tackles and interceptions, and was one of the top five players in the league, too. In Rice’s 128 league appearances, he has made 305 tackles, 214 interceptions, 209 clearances, and recovered the ball 899 times. He has also only made a single error leading to a goal across these 128 games. 

This season, he has made 55 tackles, 58 interceptions, 34 clearances, and 210 recoveries. These numbers are trickier to contextualize compared to goals and assists, but he averages at least 1.65 of each per game. 

Why Has Declan Rice’s Value Increased? 

Soccer card values rise and fall regularly, and this is all dependent on the market and how the player (and their team) is performing currently. Unlike his contemporaries, Rice goes under the radar as he is not a headline-grabbing player in the vein. Still, his cards can go for a high price depending on which you look for. Some reasons his value has increased include: 

  • Being an integral part of a West Ham side performing well-above expectations
  • A regular Premier League fixture where he is arguably the first name on West Ham’s team sheet, especially as a regular matchday captain
  • Establishing himself in the England setup as the go-to Defensive Midfielder
  • Increased interest in soccer cards
  • Increased interest in promising youngsters

Declan Rice: Predictions for the Future 

Declan Rice still has many years ahead of him, and the fact he plays as a Defensive Midfielder means his career could easily last longer than others, similar to Michael Carrick or Sergio Busquets. He has already shown a lot of promise in this position (as well as Center Back when needed), but there are a few factors that could affect his value and performance in the future. 

  • Consistency: Playing every minute of every game is a fantastic way to build consistency, especially at such a young age, so this give Rice the edge over other players
  • Form: Although not a goal scorer, Rice doesn’t need to be, and he has shown exceptional form so far with excellent defensive statistics, although he may want to add goals to his game to become a more well-rounded player.
  • Club Form: We will see whether West Ham’s form was a blip or a sign of improvement next season, but Rice is enjoying a defensively sound team. There are rumors of a summer transfer, which could put him among better players. 
  • Honors: West Ham rarely expect to win a trophy, but they are currently in the Europa League qualifying places and might want to give that a go next season if they maintain form. The Premier League is out of reach for the Hammers, too, but a big money move for Rice could change that
  • International Performance: Rice is sure to be an integral part of the England team at Euro 2021, and with the attacking talent in the England team, there’s no reason they couldn’t win the tournament. 


Declan Rice has many years ahead of him to perfect his game. He may spend the rest of his years at West Ham, although that’s unlikely. If he makes a big summer move, there’s the risk he could end up like so many other promising young talents and get lost in the shuffle, but may not. 

Wherever he ends up, you can expect Rice to be an important player for any club, and this should translate to his international performances, too. 

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