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Declan Rice reveals the ‘really odd’ welcome he received from West Ham fans

Arsenal’s Declan Rice has shared his experience of being booed by West Ham supporters, acknowledging that it felt “really odd” to score against his former club.

Former West Ham skipper, Declan Rice, has become a key player for the Gunners in their pursuit of Premier League success, contributing four goals and five assists. Despite the Gunners facing setbacks against West Ham earlier in the season, with defeats in the Carabao Cup and the Premier League, Rice remained determined to leave his mark against his old side.

He fulfilled this commitment during Arsenal’s 6-0 victory in February by scoring a long-range goal at the London Stadium. Nevertheless, the 25-year-old confessed that confronting his former club was challenging, particularly when encountering mixed reactions from West Ham fans at his previous home ground.

Declan Rice reveals his feelings of playing against West Ham

Speaking to ESPNRice said: “It was so tough. We lost in the cup to them. We lost in the league at the Emirates; I didn’t play well and gave away a penalty. The West Ham fans bantered me and I can 100% take that; I played for West Ham for 10 years and I know how they work. When I went over to take the corner, there were a few boos, but there were claps as well.

“I know my love for them has never changed; their love for me has never changed. It is one of those things where you move on. Obviously, I scored a great goal, it was really odd. Even speaking about it now, it is weird. A lot of the lads asked me afterwards, ‘How does it feel?’ It was a bittersweet feeling, really odd.”

Despite his screamer, Rice refrained from celebrating against his old side and the England international added, “I always said I would never celebrate against West Ham and I don’t think I ever will. They made me who I am. I spent 10 years there; I owe them a lot. I would never ever celebrate; I think that would be really disrespectful. Overall, [it was] a really good day to win and to score, but a bittersweet feeling.”

Rice remains dedicated to his development and the team’s shared objective of securing Premier League success. He will return to the field against Sheffield United on Monday evening to contribute further to his goal tally.

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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