Declan Rice gave everything for West Ham during his final season and helped them lift silverware... but the £105m star's love-in with Mikel Arteta and Arsenal will still rankle with the Hammers faithful as he makes his return

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Historically erstwhile a rival takes your club's champion player, nan guidance tin often beryllium rather dour. 

Take Sol Campbell, nan Tottenham skipper moving to Arsenal successful 2001 wherever he went connected to beryllium a cardinal fig successful nan Invincibles side.  

Twenty years later, Campbell revealed he still receives abuse. He told talkSPORT: 'It's ridiculous because it happened specified a agelong clip ago. Are you going to support worrying astir maine erstwhile I'm 80 years old?'

Or Ashley Cole, dubbed 'Cashley Cole' erstwhile he swapped nan Gunners for Chelsea successful a £6million woody successful 2006 that saw William Gallas spell nan different way. His consequent visits to nan Emirates were often abuse-filled.

Yet pinch Declan Rice, who returns to West Ham for nan first clip coming successful nan Carabao Cup information of 16, it’s a markedly different script because of his actions earlier moving to Arsenal for £105million complete nan summer. 

Declan Rice has quickly made himself indispensable to Arsenal pursuing his £105m move

The midfielder is preparing to return to West Ham for nan first clip connected Wednesday night, nan nine he led to Europa Conference League glory past season

Mikel Arteta surely thinks so. He said connected Tuesday: 'He's fresh and tin beryllium involved. It will beryllium his first clip backmost astatine his aged nine and a beautiful infinitesimal for him.

'I would opportunity truthful (a bully reception), I dream so. And particularly each clip you perceive him talk astir West Ham and what they did for him and everybody astatine nan club, he cannot talk immoderate higher truthful hopefully it will beryllium nan aforesaid measurement towards him.'

The midfielder could person near nan Hammers aft nan 2021-22 season, but agreed pinch nan committee to enactment for different run because of Mark Noble's retirement.

He took nan captain's armband, brushed speech speculation and registered a slew of record-breaking feats.

The 2022–23 play saw Rice triumph much possession than immoderate different subordinate successful nan league, and summation nan astir interceptions.

It culminated successful West Ham winning nan Europa Conference League trophy — nan club's first awesome European trophy since 1965.

These are each aspects that still stay pinch Hammers supporters, and will do for immoderate time.

Of course, since then, nan 24-year-old has go a lynchpin for Arteta, 1 of 2 undroppables alongside William Saliba.

Arsenal leader Mikel Arteta expects Rice to beryllium warmly welcomed backmost to nan London Stadium

Rice still speaks highly of West Ham and near nan nine for nan Gunners connected a precocious note 

He is improbable to suffer immoderate of nan acrimony Sol Campbell received erstwhile he returned to Tottenham pinch Arsenal successful 2001 

His performances are a logic why nan Gunners beryllium 2 points from apical spot successful nan league. 

He dominated nan midfield successful nan 1-0 triumph complete Crystal Palace, scored a important extremity successful Arsenal's eventual 3-1 triumph complete Manchester United and his broadside took an contiguous drop-off erstwhile substituted astatine half-time against Tottenham.

This will not person gone unnoticed astatine nan eastbound London club, who are acold from nan aforesaid proposition without him successful their ranks.

Some comments person besides unintentionally pricked a mini cross-section of his aged religious erstwhile comparing shot nether Arteta to what he had known previously.

‘You deliberation you cognize shot increasing up and erstwhile you play, but erstwhile you meet managers for illustration Mikel, you realise you don’t really cognize thing astir football,’ he explained.

‘There are different styles and different ways of playing that I’ve ne'er knowledgeable before.’

The affection for his aged club, though, has ne'er been hidden. In Los Angeles connected Arsenal's pre-season tour, his first preamble to nan media, Rice was speedy to reside West Ham.

He said: 'The fans were perpetually singing that opus which really touched me. To person truthful galore group singing it, and maine singing it backmost to them, I genuinely felt nan emotion of nan fans.

'That's really I spot them arsenic well, I ne'er want them to deliberation immoderate different.'

Rice did springiness West Ham 1 much play successful 2022-23 aft Mark Noble's retirement 

It is believed Rice still keeps successful interaction pinch unit astatine West Ham aft spending 10 years there

It is understood that he is still successful interaction pinch nine unit having built beardown relationships during his 10-year spell there.

Reunions do not ever spell to plan. Neither are they a necessity — immoderate fans will person invariably moved connected from a once-loved player.

But for Rice, an ovation of immoderate benignant astatine nan London Stadium will surely beryllium connected nan cards.


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