Declan Rice: West Ham's Europa League run will live with me forever

Declan Rice says West Ham United's Europa League run is an experience he'll never forget and believes the club would have won the competition if Aaron Cresswell hadn't been sent off against Eintracht Frankfurt.

Rice has developed into the crown jewel of a resurgent West Ham outfit and is widely regarded as one of the most promising midfielders in Europe.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been strongly linked with a move for the 23-year-old, who now serves as West Ham's captain and has been capped 34 times by England - including a start in every of their Euro 2020 games en route to the final.

With the World Cup on the horizon and a non-stop 2022/23 campaign in full swing, Rice has taken time to reflect on what's been a whirlwind few years for him in an exclusive interview with BT Sport's Joe Cole Cast.

"The whole experience of it will live with me forever," Rice told Cole, reminiscing about West Ham's remarkable run to the Europa League semi-final last season: "We used to come back from places like Vienna, we'd have to stay back in Stratford, we'd get back at like one in the morning and we'd be [ordering] Deliveroo and McDonald's.

"Me Nobes, Cress, and we'd just won a game and it's like, this is unreal! It just felt so special."

He added, detailing the run as 'really really special': "I look back at it now all the time, we talk about it like we'd go back to them days tomorrow. It's sad in a way because you're not gonna experience that again with the players we obviously had there at the time, but it'll come again."

West Ham's incredible run in the competition came to an end in the final four. Having seen off Sevilla and Lyon, they set up a semi-final clash with eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt, who seized the advantage with a 2-1 win at London Stadium in the first leg.

Just 19 minutes into the second leg, though, Cresswell was sent off following a VAR check that upgraded the referee's initial decision to award a yellow - something Rice feels altered the direction the tie was going in.

"Obviously red cards change games, that's football. You can't change that," Rice said of the incident. "But I feel like if that red card against Frankfurt wouldn't have happened in that second leg we would have won that game and we would have gone on to win the tournament 100%."

Declan Rice was speaking to West Ham icon Joe Cole | BT Sport

The Joe Cole Cast is part of a new series of free podcasts and audio documentaries from BT Sport Pods. Episode 10 with Declan Rice is available from Saturday 29th October. For more info visit:

Source : 90min