DECLAN RICE is on a mission to follow in the footsteps of Frenkie de Jong by joining a European giant.
But for now, one of the rising stars of English football insists he is happy at West Ham.
Getty Images – Getty West Ham midfielder Declan Rice freely admits his long-term ambition is to play in the Champions League – and before that win the Nations League with England
The two young midfielders come face-to-face in the Nations League semi-finals in eight days when England take on Holland in Portugal.
Ajax star De Jong, 22, is joining Barcelona for £65million while Rice, 20, is a £50m target for Manchester United.
Asked about his desire to follow De Jong, Rice said: “Yes, definitely. I want that.
“You always want to play at the top. You want to play in the Champions League.
“De Jong got his move to Barcelona and it’s fully deserved.
“He’s a top, top player. It would be great to come up against him in the Nations League.”
Rice, 20, is aware of the transfer talk about his future but said: “During last season I just signed a new five-year contract with West Ham so my focus is fully on playing for them.
“The fans love me and I love them. I’m not thinking about anything else, for sure.”
After switching nations from Ireland, Rice won his first senior cap in a 5-0 win over the Czech Republic at Wembley and made his full debut in the 5-1 thrashing of Montenegro in March.
Now he wants to end the season with Nations League silverware and said: “It would be massive.
“We’ve a massive chance now to create history.
“It would stand us in good stead for the Euros next year and the World Cup after that.”
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