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Rice drops future hint amid links to Manchester rivals Utd & City

6:05 PM GMT+4 25/06/2019
Declan Rice West Ham 2018-19
The West Ham midfielder has been linked with a move away from the London Stadium this summer, but he appears to be planning on staying put

Declan Rice may be sparking talk of interest from Manchester rivals United and City, but he has hinted that his immediate future lies at West Ham.

The versatile 20-year-old enjoyed a memorable campaign in 2018-19 as a positional tweak out of the Hammers’ defensive unit and into a holding midfield berth saw him earn widespread praise.

International recognition also came his way, with the decision taken to switch allegiance from the Republic of Ireland to England.

There is expected to be even more potential to be unlocked in an exciting talent.

West Ham have clung to the hope that they will be the ones to benefit from the undoubted ability of an academy graduate, but have been unable to curb the exit rumours.

United, who find themselves in the midst of another rebuilding project, have been heavily linked with a move for a home-grown performer.

City are also said to be casting admiring glances in the direction of the London Stadium as they seek a long-term successor to Fernandinho in the middle of the park.

Rice, though, is seemingly planning to form part of West Ham’s plans in 2019-20.

Quizzed on Twitter as to whether he will be keeping his current squad number, the highly-rated youngster said: “Had loads of people asking this. I WILL be keeping 41 for this season.”

Rice appears to be suggesting that he will be going nowhere.

If he plans to don the No. 41 jersey for West Ham again next season, then his suitors will be forced to turn their attention elsewhere.

Speculation may well continue to rage throughout the summer, but there have been no formal approaches as yet.

If the Hammers’ resolve is to be tested, then they will be left with an important decision to make.

Rice is not pushing towards the exits and would appear to be happy to spend at least 12 more months with his current club.

That situation could change quickly before the next deadline passes, with there always a late scramble for fresh faces, but for now there is seemingly no substance to the rumours suggesting that east London will soon be traded for Manchester.