'I cannot know the future' - Pellegrini uncertain over Man Utd target Rice

The West Ham boss suspects the midfielder will have suitors this summer and not guarantee the club will be able to keep hold of him

West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini admitted he is uncertain of whether the club will be able to keep Declan Rice this summer should bigger sides come for him.

The 20-year-old Rice enjoyed a breakout campaign for the Hammers this season, scoring a pair of goals as he became a key part of Pellegrini’s XI each week, making 34 appearances, all from the start.

Rice went on to win West Ham’s player of the year award as well as their young player of the year honor.

His strong performances also earned him Ireland’s Young Player of the Year award, though Rice switched his allegiances to England and has so far earned two caps with the Three Lions in European Championship qualifying.

Rice’s rise has seem him linked with moves to bigger clubs, including Manchester United and Real Madrid.

And West Ham fans hoping Rice will remain with their club next season may be left nervous as Pellegrini admitted he does not know whether the midfielder will stay with the Hammers.

“It's impossible, I cannot know the future,” Pellegrini told reporters. “He is, of course, a player who has had a brilliant season, who is 20 years old and an English player who has a lot of qualities.

“Maybe some of the big teams, or all of them, will want him. But that is one thing – the other is whether he will stay here or he goes, and I cannot say at this moment.”

West Ham finished the season strong, thumping Watford 4-1 at Vicarage Road thanks to a brace from Mark Noble and goals from Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini.

It was the club’s third victory on the trot and allowed the Hammers to jump Watford in the table to finish just in the top half of the table, on 52 points in 10th place.

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On their final position, Pellegrini added: “It's not a bad position to finish.”

Meanwhile, Rice may be able to turn his attention to international play, as he is likely in contention to be named to England’s squad for the Nations League semi-finals.

The Three Lions will face the Netherlands on June 6, with the winner squaring off against the victory between Portugal and Switzerland in the final.