It became a significant factor in his decision to trade his maroon and blue shirt of West Ham for the iconic red and white of Arsenal.
- Declan Rice cites Mikel Arteta as the primary reason for his move to Arsenal.
- Rice acknowledges his time at West Ham, expressing gratitude for the memories and highlighting his continued connection to the club.
- The midfielder emphasises the contrast in his playing style at Arsenal, highlighting a more aggressive approach.
Rice’s road to Arsenal
Shifting loyalties from West Ham, the English midfielder made a statement, joining the Gunners for a club-record fee of £105m earlier this summer.
It’s evident that Rice’s transition to the North London club has been smooth, as he netted his first goal in the 3-1 triumph over Manchester United recently and was just voted Arsenal’s Player of the Month for August.
While having a conversation with Joe Cole on Channel 4, when questioned about his choice to join Arsenal, Rice emphatically responded, “I have to say the manager.”
He further elaborated on Arteta’s vision, stating, “The way he sees the game, the way he wants to play football. I think you’ve seen Arsenal in the last two years, the way they’ve played as a team – I really saw myself fitting in.
“So far that decision has paid off. I feel really at home. I always had that gut feeling that Arsenal would be the club.”
The journey beyond West Ham
Rice warmly recollected his time at West Ham, expressing gratitude for the memories.
“Sometimes one journey ends and another starts,” he reflected.
His farewell to West Ham might have been bittersweet, but Rice mentioned, “It was a fairytale ending for me. I cannot thank everyone enough there.”
While he has started a new chapter with Arsenal, Rice hasn’t completely severed his ties. He mentioned that he still keeps a keen eye on West Ham’s performance and stays in touch with his former teammates.
Adapting to the Arsenal style
Discussing the variances in his role post-transition, Rice commented on the differences he’s encountered at his new club. He highlighted, “The difference in the way I’m having to play; it’s much more advanced. Much more forward thinking.”
He explained how, instead of maintaining a defensive posture, he’s now tasked with a proactive approach, winning the ball higher up and adopting a more aggressive stance.
Concluding his insights, Rice shared his ambitions, ‘I’ve always wanted to reach the top level and get every inch out of myself. Arsenal is where I see myself doing that best.”