Declan Rice has described Jude Bellingham as "the future of English football", claiming his international midfield partner is the most talented 19-year-old he has ever seen.

Although England suffered relegation from the top tier of the Nations League last week, Bellingham has done no harm to his chances of starting at the upcoming World Cup during the international break. 

With Manchester City's Kalvin Phillips enduring an injury-blighted campaign, Bellingham started alongside Rice in matches against Italy and Germany, impressing in a box-to-box role.

In Monday's 3-3 draw with Germany, Bellingham led England's charts for passes completed (41), touches (67), touches in the opposition box (six), duels won (eight), tackles won, interceptions and fouls won (all three).

Rice believes the Borussia Dortmund star's all-round ability is unique for someone of his age, telling the Daily Mirror: "I don't think I've seen anyone as good as he is for 19.

"I look at a lot of 19-year-olds, whether it's at a club, around the world, around the country. To have the whole package is a hard thing and I feel like he's got that.

"He's 19 but he's got the body of a 28-year-old – he's a man. He thinks like a man, plays like a man and shows personality and character. 

"I've been around and played so many more games than he has in my career, but you can just tell as a 19-year-old what he brings to the team already, the energy he's got.

"He can play in a holding role, he can play as an eight, he can play as a 10.

"He's a man – you can see it when he plays for Dortmund. As a 19-year-old, you're normally scared to talk to the referee but he's in the referee's face demanding answers, demanding decisions and he leaves himself on the pitch constantly. 

"He really pushes you on the pitch. We push each other on and it's a privilege to play next to him.

"Every time I play with Jude, we're building that connection and I say to him; 'you go and bomb on and do your attacking stuff and I'll sit here and defend for you'. So we're getting that good connection, he's great to play with.

"Hopefully, he keeps flourishing. He's the future of English football to come for the next 15 years."

While Bellingham's individual displays have earned rave reviews, England will begin the World Cup – against Iran on November 21 – having gone six games without a win (D3 L3).

This is their longest such run going into a major tournament, but Rice believes the Three Lions were much improved against Germany, adding: "We're sticking with a formation that needs work and we're working on that in training all the time. 

"I feel like there's positive signs there. It's just a blip at the moment but that was a massive, positive step."

England midfielder Declan Rice has called for calm after defeat to Italy extended the Three Lions' winless streak to five games.

Giacomo Raspadori's strike at San Siro condemned Gareth Southgate's side to relegation to League B in the Nations League and marked England's longest run without a win in competitive matches since October 1992.

With just 90 minutes of football and 56 days until the World Cup campaign in Qatar begins against Iran, concern is rising, but Rice has promised there will be improvements.

"It's obviously disappointing. Every tournament we go into, we set out to win," he told Channel 4 after the loss.

"In the Nations League we have slipped below our standards, but I didn't think it was all bad tonight.

"It's coming. It was a much better performance tonight than we saw in the summer.

"It's not that we're not creating the chances. I see it in training. There are goals for fun. Trust me, we are going to be good."

England's drop in form has come alongside a barren run in front of goal, having gone 495 minutes without a goal in open play – the last being Raheem Sterling's strike in a friendly against the Ivory Coast in March.

Southgate's side face Germany at Wembley on Monday to bring an end to a disappointing Nations League campaign, before the countdown to the World Cup truly begins.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice has hit out at a VAR call that went against the Hammers on Saturday, labelling it a "shambles".

Chelsea came from behind to beat West Ham 2-1 at Stamford Bridge, where the visitors saw a 90th-minute Maxwel Cornet effort ruled out.

VAR looked at the goal and the strike was ruled out due to a foul from Jarrod Bowen on goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, sparking a furious response from the Hammers.

David Moyes declared it was "scandalous" in his post-match comments and West Ham captain Rice agreed, taking to social media to share his thoughts in a series of tweets.

"That's up there with one of the worst VAR decisions made since it's come into the game. Shambles," read the first post, alongside a laughing emoji.

"Can't believe the referee has even been asked to go take a look at the monitor! Cannot see how they've come to that decision."

"Sorry for the frustration but there is so much at stake! To have that go against you in the 90th minute is gutting! Onto the next one we go."

The defeat maintained West Ham's slow start to the season, in which they've won just one of their opening six matches.

The Hammers will turn their attention to Thursday's UEFA Conference League group stage opener against Romanian side FCSB, before hosting Newcastle United next Sunday.

That’s up there with one of the worst VAR decisions made since it’s come into the game. Shambles 

— Declan Rice (@_DeclanRice) September 3, 2022

Manchester United must start being active in the transfer market amid links to the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Christopher Nkunku, otherwise they risk failing to rebuild under Erik ten Hag.

That is the message from United great and television pundit Gary Neville, who warned that late transfer activity will only make Ten Hag's task tougher.

Ten Hag faces a sizeable rebuilding job after inhering a United side that finished with their lowest ever points tally in the 2021-22 Premier League campaign.

The Red Devils also failed to end a league campaign with a positive goal difference (zero) for the first time since the 1989-90 season.

Paul Pogba is heading for the exit door at the end of June when his contract expires, along with Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata, as Ten Hag looks to leave his mark at Old Trafford.

Reports have linked United to numerous players, such as Nkunku, De Jong and Christian Eriksen, while Ten Hag's former Ajax players Jurrien Timber and Antony have also been floated as options.

West Ham midfielder Declan Rice and Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres may appear more far-fetched options, but Neville says United must get to business otherwise their already difficult task will become even harder.

 

"The others seem set and ready, yet United can't get moving," Neville wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

"[Ten Hag] needs his group together [as soon as possible] to mould them. Bringing them in late will only make it harder for him. [Fingers crossed] it happens soon!"

Ten Hag will hope to have a busy transfer window ahead of the first Premier League game of the 2022-23 season when United will host Brighton and Hove Albion on August 7.

It will be the Dutchman's first competitive game in charge of the Red Devils, who will play their opening top-flight match at home for a sixth straight season – the longest current run of any Premier League side.

Speculation over Declan Rice's future has long centred on an apparently inevitable departure from West Ham United.

The Hammers run to the Europa League semi-final has amplified talk around the England international midfielder, with Chelsea and Manchester United linked.

According to reports, though, the 23-year-old appears content at London Stadium with a World Cup on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – DECLAN RICE TO STICK WITH WEST HAM    

Declan Rice will not leave West Ham despite interest from Manchester United and Chelsea, according to The Mirror.

The 23-year-old has been reticent to sign a new deal at the club, but he is reportedly in no hurry to leave yet either, seemingly wanted to stay settled ahead of November's World Cup in Qatar.

United have looked to Rice as one of their primary transfer targets as Erik ten Hag looks to overhaul the squad, but Rice appears set for one more season at West Ham following their run to the Europa League semi-final this term.

Hammers management had previously advised that Rice is not for sale, and strong performances at the World Cup with England would likely only increase his already lofty market value.

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are showing interest in Milan's Rafael Leao after Kylian Mbappe opted to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, according to Marca.

– Los Blancos are also looking to scupper Liverpool's move for Aurelien Tchouameni, despite the player having already agreed terms with the Reds so say The Mirror.

Barcelona are discussing personal terms with Marcos Alonso, who is set to leave Chelsea, Fabrizio Romano reports.

– Arsenal defender William Saliba wants to stay at Marseille, where he has been on loan, per Goal.

Declan Rice and Christopher Nkunku have joined victorious Eintracht Frankfurt stars in headlining the Europa League's team of the season.

The selections for the competition's end-of-season awards were announced by UEFA on Friday, two days after Eintracht's final shootout triumph against Rangers.

Wing-backs Filip Kostic and Ansgar Knauff earned individual recognition, the former the player of the season and the latter the young player of the season.

But there was no room for Knauff in the best XI, with Rangers captain James Tavernier, the competition's leading scorer, preferred.

Tavernier had two Rangers colleagues in the team in Calvin Bassey and Ryan Kent, yet Kostic was one of four Eintracht players.

Penalty heroes Kevin Trapp and Rafael Borre made the cut, alongside defender Martin Hinteregger.

Perhaps the two biggest names included were beaten semi-finalists, however, with Rice and Nkunku – both set to be the subject of close-season transfer speculation – recognised.

Departing Napoli great Lorenzo Insigne did not make the side but was awarded the goal of the season his stunning strike against Legia Warsaw.

Europa League team of the season:

Kevin Trapp (Eintracht Frankfurt); Craig Dawson (West Ham), Martin Hinteregger (Eintracht Frankfurt), Calvin Bassey (Rangers); James Tavernier (Rangers), Konrad Laimer (RB Leipzig), Declan Rice (West Ham), Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt); Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig), Rafael Borre (Eintracht Frankfurt), Ryan Kent (Rangers).

West Ham manager David Moyes declared his side needs Declan Rice "to drive us on" if they are to come back from a 2-1 deficit against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League semi-final.

The first leg, played at London Stadium, got off to the worst possible start as the visitors scored inside the opening minute, with Michail Antonio replying in the first half before Daichi Kamada scored the Frankfurt winner after 54 minutes.

Whichever team advances to the final will meet the winner of RB Leipzig and Rangers.

Rice has been the driving force behind West Ham's season and has become one of the best central midfielders in the Premier League. Now, Moyes wants the 23-year-old to push the Hammers into a first major European final since 1976.

"I say to Declan Rice every week 'you have to drive them on, every day in training – the levels and standards have to be taken higher'," Moyes told a news conference.

"Every day you have to drive them on, the levels. He has the chance to work with some of the best players in the country when he goes away with England – Harry Kane, Harry Maguire, you name it – and he has to bring that back to our camp and demand it from the other boys.

Rice has, quite literally, played a key role in progressing West Ham to this huge tie, having made 182 ball carries in the Europa League this season, second only to Barcelona's Eric Garcia (191).

The total distance of Rice's carries amounts to 2,083 metres, more than 400 metres more than any other central midfield player this campaign. Moyes did stress, though, that it is important not to put the onus all on one talismanic player.

"We also mustn't put too much on Dec’s shoulders! I’m the one who's said it because he's such a quality player and he's got tremendous abilities," Moyes continued.

"I challenge him a lot, but we need to get a whole team performance and everybody needs to perform well. 

"We need Dec to drive us on, but we need him to play with a really steady, experienced head for somebody who's young."

Moyes' second spell in charge has seen West Ham transform from relegation candidates to being on the brink of a European final in the space of two years.

"Our climb over the last two years has probably been faster [than we'd expect] and sometimes you have to come down a little bit to go again – but hopefully, we continue to build and grow, and that’s what I'm trying to drive home," Moyes added.

"The biggest thing I've seen is the mentality change in the players here – it's incredible. The demand really is that we try and improve, and I put it on them.

"They need to be the ones who do it as well. The manager is always the one who gets found out if it happens or not, but sometimes the players need to be the ones who roll their sleeves up and not accept anything other than the best."

Manchester United reportedly have a clear runway to sign West Ham midfielder and England international Declan Rice in the upcoming transfer window.

Rice, 23, has emerged as one of England's brightest young talents after being released from Chelsea's youth setup back in 2014.

He is expected to command a transfer fee in excess of the £100million Jack Grealish was signed for by Manchester City in a British record – but United may not be engaged in a bidding war.

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS LOOM AS RICE'S SOLE ENGLISH SUITOR

ESPN are reporting that United will not be facing competition from fellow Premier League clubs in the pursuit of Rice.

Sources have allegedly claimed the goal is to make Rice into a "modern day version of [Paul] Ince", who helped ignite the rise of legendary boss Alex Ferguson with his arrival from West Ham in 1989.

City are said to be using their resources on Erling Haaland; Chelsea are hampered by their ownership situation and the need to replace Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen and Romelu Lukaku; and Liverpool would prefer to wait for Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham at a cheaper price.

Despite a lack of bidders to drive up Rice's price, West Ham are reportedly firm on their £100m-plus valuation.

 

ROUND-UP

– Everton would accept a £50m fee for Brazilian striker Richarlison, and are confident of getting such an offer, according to Football Insider.

– According to ESPN, Milan and Juventus are the leaders in the race to sign United's Jesse Lingard.

– Sport are reporting Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves has chosen Barcelona over Premier League clubs United and Arsenal.

– Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is said to be for sale for a €80m price-tag, with Sky Sport claiming United and Paris Saint-Germain are the leading suitors.

Arsenal have renewed their interest in Inter striker Lautaro Martinez, per The Times. 

Riyad Mahrez could reportedly be sold by Manchester City in the upcoming transfer window, and some of the world's biggest clubs are said to be targeting the Algerian.

Mahrez, 31, has won the Premier League on three occasions, including once with Leicester City, and will make it four this season if Pep Guardiola's team can hold on.

After 38 Premier League goals for Mahrez over four campaigns with City, he could be facing a new challenge next season.


TOP STORY – MAHREZ MOVE TO MAKE WAY FOR HAALAND

Fichajes.net is reporting that Mahrez is one of the players City could part ways with to help fund the purchase of Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

The report names Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus as the three most likely landing spots.

Mahrez has scored 23 goals and dished out eight assists in 42 appearances across all club competitions this season.


ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are said to be closing in on a deal to sign Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer. The Guardian is reporting his contract will be worth at least £200,000 per week.

– The Telegraph is reporting Manchester City are interested in making a move for West Ham's Declan Rice.

– According to Marca, Real Madrid remain favourites to land Kylian Mbappe when he is expected to leave Paris Saint-Germain in the next transfer window, but he will not make an official announcement until after the last game of his Ligue 1 season on May 21.

– Sky Sports News is reporting that Lionel Messi will remain at Paris Saint-Germain for at least one more season but that the French giants could consider letting Neymar move on.

– Barcelona would be willing to sell Frenkie de Jong for £58million, with Manchester United reportedly interested in bringing in the Dutch midfielder, according to El Chiringuito.

Declan Rice has revealed how the antics of Moussa Dembele and a post from Lyon's social media team inspired West Ham to reach the Europa League semi-finals.

Prior to Thursday night's rematch between the sides, footage had circulated of Dembele winking to team-mates after appearing to go down easily to earn Aaron Cresswell a soft first-leg red card.

That decision contributed to the tie being finally poised at 1-1 going into the second leg in France; it also perhaps led to some overconfidence from the hosts.

As much could be seen in a reply from Lyon's official English language account on Twitter to the question of which teams looked best placed to progress this week.

It read: "Are you really asking like there's a chance we don't go through?"

Speaking after a 3-0 win saw the Hammers ease through to the last four, Rice confirmed that both perceived slights had ultimately served as motivation.

He told BT Sport: "There were a few incentives for us to go out there and win.

"Obviously, Dembele winking in the first leg at the camera, and then their Twitter admin saying they don't see how they're not going to get through.

"Those things come back to bite you. We stayed quiet, put in a performance, and now West Ham are in the semis. What more could we want?"

Lyon's belief no doubt stemmed from the knowledge they would have a raucous home crowd cheering them on in the return leg.

However, according to Rice, the atmosphere actually pushed the visitors to play their best game.

England international Rice said: "I feel like if you can't get up for these games then you shouldn't be playing football. The roar from the warm-up was spine-tingling, really. It just really gives you that fire in your stomach to go out and perform.

"[It feels] special, very, very special. We knew it was a tough place to come, we knew they had top individual quality.

"But with what we had on the pitch, our attacking players, and what we saw in the first game in terms of them defensively, we knew we could score goals tonight. For all the fans, it's just such a great night."

Manager David Moyes used his post-match interview to reflect on his team's short journey from relegation battlers to European silverware hopefuls.

Moyes said: "We've got a really good group of lads, I'm really lucky. They've been great in the time we've been here. We were trying to avoid relegation and now we're talking about getting to the semi-final of a European tournament, it's fabulous. I think it's been huge what we've done in two years.

"We've not won any trophies yet, we're trying to compete and qualify for European football again if we can.

"But I think to be getting to the latter stages and beating Sevilla and now Lyon - big clubs, big teams who are used to European football...

"You don't win anything tonight, but it was a big night for us. To come away and win 3-0 in Europe - a really, really good result."

After a number of false dawns since Alex Ferguson's retirement from coaching, Manchester United are reportedly looking to make a splash with Erik ten Hag.

West Ham's Declan Rice has emerged as one of Europe's premier defensive midfielders and is seen as a key piece in a potential rebuild.

According to reports, this off-season might be the time West Ham and Rice's representatives look to cash in.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED TO MAKE RECORD PLAY FOR RICE

Manchester United are ready to break their transfer record and make him a marquee signing under new boss Erik ten Hag, according to 90Min.

It is understood West Ham made an offer to extend Rice's contract last year, but ultimately, the Hammers would be unable to compete with likely wage offers elsewhere.

For Rice, United appear willing to break their transfer record set in 2016 for Paul Pogba, a midfielder who has never really found a set position or provided a return on sizeable investment.

They would face stiff competition from Manchester City and Chelsea, who are also keen on the 23-year-old England international.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are preparing a deal to sign Leeds United and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips, per the Manchester Evening News.

Brazil are willing to offer Manchester City manager Josep Guardiola a substantial salary to follow on from Tite as the country's national team manager, according to Marca.

Everton boss Frank Lampard has the confidence of club owner Farhad Moshiri and the board, despite the Toffees' relegation battle, the Daily Mail reports.

– The Athletic has reported RB Leipzig and Croatia defender Josko Gvardiol has emerged as a target for Tottenham .

Declan Rice believes a green jacket would be an ideal complement to claret and blue for West Ham fans Billy Horschel and Francesco Molinari.

England and West Ham footballer Rice sent the loyal Hammers a message of good luck on Thursday, with the Masters getting under way at Augusta National.

Neither Horschel nor Molinari hail from West Ham's traditional east London catchment area, but both have made public declarations of love for the Premier League club.

Horschel, a 35-year-old American, became a West Ham supporter during his days in college and used a golf bag bearing club colours and the team's crest during last year's Open Championship.

Molinari first began following West Ham in 2009 when his friend and fellow Italian Gianfranco Zola was manager of the team.

Rice said, in a message posted on West Ham's Twitter page: "Billy, Francesco, all the best this week in the Masters.

"Me and the boys will be rooting for you. Hopefully one of you can get the green jacket. All the best. See you soon."

Horschel finished tied for second at the recent Arnold Palmer Invitational and is up to 13th in the world rankings. He has only ever spent one week higher on that list, when he briefly held down number 12 in 2014, and headed into the Masters with high hopes, looking to improve on his best performance of tied-17th in the 2016 tournament.

He was due off in a starry afternoon group alongside Dustin Johnson and Collin Morikawa, both two-time major winners.

Molinari, the 2018 Open champion, has struggled for results of late and was among the early starters on day one, joining 1987 Masters winner Larry Mize and Austria's Sepp Straka in the third group out.

West Ham had a major assignment of their own to look forward to on Thursday, tackling Lyon in the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final.

Chelsea's midfield targets in the upcoming transfer window have left a potential opening for Real Madrid in pursuit of N'Golo Kante.

The France international reportedly knocked back a move to Paris Saint-Germain in the January window, but midfield rejuvenation is a priority for Madrid.

While Casemiro, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been mainstays in the middle at the Santiago Bernabeu, Kante would bring new energy to the Spanish giants.

TOP STORY – KANTE LINED UP AS REAL MADRID SOLUTION

The transfer market domino effect could lead Kante to Madrid, AS has reported.

While both Madrid and Chelsea are in the race to sign Aurelien Tchouameni, the Blues also have an interest in Declan Rice, which could open up the possibility of Kante leaving.

The 31-year-old is coming into the final year of his contract, leaving Madrid with potential leverage to force Chelsea's hand.

While Kante has seen extensive time on the sidelines this season, missing game time through a combination of COVID-19, groin and knee troubles, he could be Madrid's top target if they fail to land Tchouameni.

ROUND-UP

– Barcelona are keen to sign 30-year-old Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette on a free transfer when his contract expires at the end of the season, Sport reports.

– Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is confident the club will be able to keep Antonio Rudiger alongside Cesar Azpilicueta, who triggered a contract extension, per Goal.

– Bild is reporting Bayern Munich have commenced talks over a new deal for Thomas Muller, with his contract expiring at the end of next season.

– Erik ten Hag is the favourite to become the new Manchester United manager, with the Ajax coach seeing a move to the Premier League as a progression in his career, according to Sport1.

David Moyes says it would cost over £150million to prise Declan Rice away from West Ham but the England midfielder is not for sale.

Captain Rice has just over two years remaining on his Hammers contract, with the option of a further 12 months.

The 23-year-old has been consistently outstanding for club and country, attracting interest from the likes of Manchester United and his former club Chelsea.

Asked if Rice would command a British record transfer fee of £150m, West Ham boss Moyes said: "If you are interested, well, it will be north of that.

"£100m was cheap last summer. £150m just now would be minimum but he is not for sale. What I do know is that it means there are only certain clubs that could even consider it.”

Moyes wants the Hammers to take a similar approach to the way London rivals Tottenham handled Manchester City's interest in England captain Harry Kane last year.

"I look at what Tottenham did with Harry Kane, albeit in a different way," said the Scot.

"They said, 'No, there is a price and if someone wants to pay the price, then we would probably do it. If they don't, then he's not going anywhere’ and they have kept him.

"There will be times when players have got the power but we have got Declan on the best part of a three-and-a-half-year contract.

"Just like Tottenham, they have got Kane on a contract and they control what happens."

Barcelona have re-established themselves this term after a strong January transfer window.

Barca head coach Xavi, appointed in November, has overseen a major form reversal culminating in last week's 4-0 Clasico win.

The Blaugrana have their sights set on more additions as they continue to re-build after Lionel Messi's exit last year.

TOP STORY - BARCELONA SET SIGHTS ON SALAH

Barcelona boss Xavi is determined to land Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah , claims Mundo Deportivo.

The cash-strapped Catalans have switched their attention from the race for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

Salah is yet to re-sign with Liverpool where he is out of contract in 2023.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta said he will not put the club at financial risk in order to sign Erling Haaland, per Fabrizio Romano for Mundo Deportivo.

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool will not pursue West Ham United's Declan Rice amid interest from several clubs in the England international midfielder, claims Football Insider.

- Leeds United has rejected a £29million bid from  Barcelona  for 25-year-old Brazilian winger  Raphinha , whose release clause is set at £60million, according to Sport.

- Arsenal midfielder  Granit Xhaka  remains a transfer target for  Roma head coach Jose Mourinho, per the Gazzetta dello Sport.

- According to the Daily Mail, Wolves and Portugal winger  Pedro Neto  is on  Paris Saint-Germain's  wanted list.

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