West Ham owner claims Ireland star Declan Rice will become a 'strong English defender'
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West Ham owner claims Ireland star Declan Rice will become a 'strong English defender'

WEST HAM co-chairman David Gold has predicted the club's teenage star Declan Rice will become a "strong English defender" - despite making his Republic of Ireland bow in March.

The Hammers announced ex-Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini as their new manager on Tuesday, after David Moyes' six-month contract expired following a disappointing campaign at London Stadium.

Speaking today after the appointment of Pellegrini, Mr Gold said he hoped the well-respected Chilean tactician would have a positive affect on 19-year-old Rice's career.

"I’m looking forward to the new manager turning Declan Rice into a strong England defender for the future of the England team,” said Gold.

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Despite West Ham's woes, English-born Rice enjoyed an incredible season in claret and blue - making no less than 26 Premier League appearances despite only turning 19 in January.

Rice made his senior debut for Ireland in an international friendly against Turkey on March 23, which the Boys in Green narrowly lost 1-0 in Antalya.

And despite still technically being eligible to represent his country of birth due to a lack of any competitive appearances for Ireland - could it just be that Mr Gold doesn't realise Declan Rice is an Irishman?

Ask any West Ham fan, they wouldn't be surprised!