Former England defender Jamie Carragher has defended Declan Rice for his decision to reject a contract offer from West Ham, in comments made to talkSPORT.
West Ham have endured a shaky period during the past year but one shining light has been the emergence of 19-year-old Declan Rice, whose versatility has proven to be a useful asset for the Hammers in their struggles for stability.
The Republic of Ireland international became a first-team regular during David Moyes’ short stint at the London Stadium and has fought his way back into the starting line-up in recent weeks under Manuel Pellegrini, catching the eye in the Premier League matches against Everton and Chelsea.
However, the future of the teenager is far from certain as he rapidly approaches the expiration of his deal at the end of the season and is reported to have snubbed an offer of a rise to £12k-a-week from the Hammers – which has caused some controversy.
Rice, who has risen through the youth ranks in East London, is holding out for an improved offer and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher backed his stance in comments made to talkSPORT.
“I thought it was a bit out of order from some of the callers saying Rice was getting too big for his boots or he’s got to be careful about this or that.
“But to be honest I look at him and it’s not just Declan Rice, it’s every young player who comes through at a Premier League club or any club always have to be seen to be grateful they’re playing and they can’t just ask for a bit more money.
“If there was a young foreign player signed from abroad there’d be no questions about what they deserve. I felt it when I was playing that because I was a local lad at Liverpool I had to be seen to be grateful.
“Local players coming through at their football clubs are definitely treated differently financially. This is a lad who could be West Ham’s main man over the next five or six years so I think it’s unfair he gets the criticism for not accepting the first offer he’s given.”
Declan Rice’s current deal is worth pennies in comparison to the offer on the table from West Ham, which would almost quadruple his wages, and when you look at it from that perspective it is easy to criticise the teenage ace.
[brid autoplay=”true” video=”299719″ player=”12034″ title=”Rafa’s Pub Facts Man Utd Beat Young Boys But Not New Boys”]
However, the reality is that £12k-a-week is nothing for someone playing regular Premier League football and his frustrations are well placed given that the Hammers splashed in excess of £100m to sign new players in the summer – some of whom are behind Rice in the pecking order.
Instead of criticising Rice, West Ham are the ones who should have the finger pointed at them for trying to take advantage of a player who has arguably been the second-best in the squad since the start of last season, behind only Marko Arnautovic.