Sebastien Haller is expecting Declan Rice to become a “world-class player” in the years to come, with the Ivory Coast international frustrated that he will not be at West Ham to witness that development.
The versatile 22-year-old is already well on his way to reaching the top of the game, with the captain’s armband taken on at the London Stadium while earning 13 caps for England.
Big-money moves have been mooted for Rice, amid talk of interest from Chelsea and Manchester United, with Haller among those expecting the combative midfielder to become a superstar performer of the modern era.
What has been said?
Haller, who left West Ham for Ajax in January, told talkSPORT of his former team-mate: “He can definitely become a world-class player, I'm sure.
“He has everything. He's still really young, he's technically strong and a good captain.
“I can easily say that during my time at West Ham he was one of the two most important players in the team.
“The only thing I can wish is that he becomes a world-class player, because he has the potential.”
Rice’s record at West Ham
Having been released by Chelsea at the age of 14, Rice opted to try his luck across London at West Ham.
He has stepped out of their academy system to become a senior star, with 137 appearances taken in for the Hammers since making his debut in May 2017.
David Moyes sees the youngster being a key part of his plans for the foreseeable future, with their no intention to sell on the part of those in the East End, and further international recognition is expected heading towards World Cup qualifiers and the delayed European Championship finals.
Why is Haller not helping Rice?
The 26-year-old frontman joined West Ham from Eintracht Frankfurt for £45 million ($63m) in the summer of 2019, but left just 18 months later for half that fee as Ajax swooped in to prise him away from a forgettable spell in England that delivered just 14 goals through 54 appearances.
Haller has said of that experience, with many writing him off as a big-money flop: “I feel frustrated because it is like I left without finishing something.
“When people are talking about the price tag every day, they are waiting every day for something for this money. They expect even more from you than someone else.”