Rice urged to ignore Man Utd interest and stay at West Ham

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The England international has been linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer after a breakthrough campaign at the London Stadium

West Ham academy coach Carlton Cole believes Declan Rice would be rolling the dice with his future progress if he sealed a move to Manchester United this summer.

Rice made his England debut last month after he switched his international allegiances from the Republic of Ireland, and his sparkling performances in the heart of the West Ham midfield have fuelled rumours of a summer switch to Old Trafford.

Speaking to Goal as he hosted a soccer training camp at The Campus, Quinta do Lago in the Algarve, former West Ham striker Cole believes 20-year-old Rice would be wise to stay with the Hammers until his development is complete.

"I would urge to Declan to think twice about looking beyond West Ham at this stage in his career," Cole said.

"He would should stay where he is for a few years because he is one of the main men in the team and that won't be the case if he joins one of the big clubs before he is ready for that.

"Declan is only 20 and the danger of making a move now is that he could become just a number at one of the top clubs and will not realise his potential. He should learn his trade properly and West Ham is the perfect stage for him to do that.

"The top clubs will come calling if he is still playing as well as he has done this season a few years down the line, but this is not the moment for him to go to Manchester United or somewhere like that.

"If you roll the clock forward a few years and he has loads of England caps under his belt after giving plenty of good service to West Ham, then I'm sure they won't stand in his way if a big club comes in for him, but it would be premature for him to make that move now.

"He's had one good season and let's wait and see where he is in a few years time. Declan is a sensible lad and knows that leaving West Ham now would be a risk for him."

Declan Rice, England

Rice failed to land a professional contract at Chelsea after emerging through their youth team set-up, and Cole believes that chastening experience of rejection is standing him in good stead now.

"Declan Rice is a top player and what I like about him is his temperament," added Cole. "He has had to fight for what he has got in his career so far and that will keep him humble.

"Some players get their break in the Premier League at a young age, but Declan was rejected by Chelsea for a professional contract with and had to get himself back up from that setback to go again.

"It wasn't a certainty that he would get his pro contract at West Ham, but he fought hard to get that and he got his head down and tried his best. Look at where it has taken him. He has grown in stature and now he is a full England international.

"Sometimes rejection at the start of your career can help. Declan had his dream crushed at Chelsea, but it made him even more determined to come back and prove himself and he has done that now.

"He is a great example of young and aspiring footballers who may find themselves in his position this summer. So many players are in academies at Premier League clubs, but a lot of them won't make it to the first team and they have to build their career again after that disappointment.

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"You can have a great career in the game even if you are not playing for one of the top six teams in the Premier League and I proved that when I left Chelsea and went to West Ham, which was probably the best decision I made in my career."

Carlton Cole Quinto do Lago

Carlton Cole spoke to Goal at The Campus, Quinta do Lago. More information here.

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