The West Ham midfielder has spoken of his fortune at being able to learn from some inspiring figures during his brief international career to date
Declan Rice has said that working with Harry Kane and Jordan Henderson on international duty has given him an insight into what it takes to become England captain.
The West Ham midfielder, who was subject to a long-time international tug of war between Ireland and the Three Lions, now holds aspirations of captaining Gareth Southgate’s side.
He has been capped 11 times by England, having featured in three Ireland friendlies previously.
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At club level, his inspiration has been Mark Noble, and having taken a step up at international level, he has seen what it takes to lead his country through Kane.
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“It’s just something that, as a kid, has always been one of my dreams – to be a captain,” he told a press conference ahead of England’s Nations League clash with Belgium. “Coming up with Nobes as our captain and, me, being the rising player in the team, the manager has given me the armband when Nobes isn’t playing.
“I’m taking it in my stride and I’m really lucky I’ve someone like Noble to help along the way.
“I’m only 21 and captaining the team in big games like Liverpool and Manchester City – long may that continue.
“If you look at Jordan and what he’s done for his whole career but, especially the last couple of years, it’s so important for me to learn and get better. We know his qualities on the ball but you don’t realise until you play next to him, his leadership qualities. He is non-stop, always on at you in a good, positive way.
“That gives you the confidence to go and fight for the badge.
“With Harry, you feel his presence all the time. He wasn’t involved against Ireland but beforehand, he’s in the changing room, getting everyone ready. He’s talking to the lads, individually. For a youngster like me, aspiring to be a future captain, that’s great.”
Rice is aiming to feature against Belgium on Sunday, with England still chasing top spot in a group that also contains Iceland and Croatia. The Three Lions then complete their pool stage campaign at home to Iceland on Wednesday.