“I speak to him”- Long-term Chelsea transfer target reveals Blues legend as his childhood idol


Speaking to former defender Gary Neville on The Overlap Xtra on Youtube (h/t football.london), long-term Chelsea target and West Ham United star Declan Rice revealed that John Terry was his childhood hero whilst growing up. This comes amidst the Blues being linked with a summer move for Rice.

Terry had a distinguished career at Stamford Bridge, proving to be one of the club’s most successful captains. As a player, the former England international won almost everything that was available to him in his career, before he departed for Aston Villa in what proved to be his final season as a professional footballer.

Rice spent his youth career at Chelsea, coming through the ranks at Cobham. The player was released from the club when he was a teenager, which led to him moving to London rivals West Ham. The Hammers midfielder said that Terry contacted him when he was released from the academy.

“When I got released, he picked up the phone and, he didn’t have to, I was only 14 at the time and speaking to my idol. So, yeah, we’ve got a good relationship.”

Rice has now grown to be one of the Premier League’s brightest talents, with the midfielder dropping impressive performances in the middle of the pitch on a regular basis. This has also seen the former Chelsea man get a chance to represent England on the international stage, now establishing himself in Gareth Southgate’s squad.

Rice’s love for Terry Any potential move for the England international could see the club spend over £100m, with West Ham boss David Moyes keen to hold on to one of his best players as they continue their rise in the PL as a team competing regularly for European spots.

When asked about who it was he looked up to when trying to break through the academy at Chelsea as a young player, Rice replied saying that it was always Terry and that he still speaks to the Blues legend a lot of the time.

“John Terry. I speak to him a lot, all of the time, really. For me, growing up, being a Chelsea fan, being a season ticket holder there, going to all of the games, coming through the academy. It was always him – JT. The kits, ‘JT 26’ on the back. Even when I was younger, I said if I make it, I want to be number 26.”

Rice’s answer will surely please Chelsea fans, who will hope that their club does everything they can to bring back their former academy player to Stamford Bridge. The club looks to have made the wrong decision in letting the midfielder leave as a youth product, given his rise to stardom in the Premier League.

The West Ham man could not just be a midfield lynchpin, but also a future captain at Chelsea like his idol Terry, with Rice often leading the Hammers out for games in place of the ageing Mark Noble. This may well be a point for the Blues to consider, as they risk losing current club captain Cesar Azpilicueta in the summer for free when the Spaniard’s contract expires.

At 23, Rice has not only amassed Premier League experience but is also a star on the continental stage, as West Ham continue to fly high this season in the Europa League. The midfielder’s performances have been notable across all competitions, and Chelsea is sure to gain a future midfield general if they manage to sign him at the end of the season.

It is clear that the Englishman, who starred for the Three Lions during the 2020 UEFA Euros, admires the Blues. But signing him is a whole different thing. Rice can also slot in as a central defender if needed and the potential and versatility he possesses make him a very good target to pursue for a club like Chelsea.

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