Declan Rice has revealed that within moments of Chelsea winning the Champions League he was part of the Blues’ celebrations, albeit virtually.
Once the triumphant Chelsea players had returned to the dressing room, Rice was straight onto FaceTime to childhood friend Mason Mount to congratulate his former Blues academy teammate.
Rice and Mount struck up a friendship over a decade ago and were inseparable in their younger days until Rice was let go from the Chelsea academy aged 14.
The two have remained close friends to the point that each player gets stick from their teammates for how often they call one another.
Rice watched his international teammate play a starring role in Chelsea’s Champions League triumph over Manchester City in Porto, with Mount providing the assist for the game’s only goal, scored by Kai Havertz.
The moment Mount was back in the Chelsea dressing room Rice got in touch to share the moment with his friend.
“It was straight after, from the dressing room, buzzing,” Rice said. “But we’ve got to be a bit careful because people will say we’re in love.
“Every time we FaceTime, all of his team-mates jump in and say: ‘You two need to stop talking to each other.'”
After Rice departed Chelsea he joined up with the Hammers academy and established himself as a vital member of a West Ham team that exceeded all expectations to secure a top-six Premier League finish and Europa League football next season.
The 22-year-old is a key man for club and country and will play a crucial role in the heart of the England midfield, however, his international career could have turned out very differently.
Rice, was capped three times for the Republic of Ireland before switching his allegiance to the country of his birth in 2018.
The Hammer watched England’s run to the World Cup semi-final as a supporter of the Three Lions and revealed that by that stage he had already decided where his international allegiances lie.
“It was done then,” he said.
“We spoke about it so much but obviously growing up watching England in tournament, you just feel the proper buzz, the effects and the desire of the country for the players to do well.
“It was like that, even in Dubai. There were thousands of English fans. You saw when [Kieran] Trippier scored [against Croatia], all the fan zones in England going crazy.
“That’s what I want to be a part of now. I just can’t wait to experience this and just get the real buzz and excitement of the tournament.
“I remember watching the Panama game, the Tunisia game, the Sweden game. It was incredible. The singing before the game, the national anthem, just being a part of it. I was a fan for that tournament so to be part of this tournament is unbelievable.”
Get the latest Chelsea transfer news straight to your inbox
The summer window is officially open and now the Blues can look to build on European glory and bolster the squad to push for Premier League supremacy.
By signing up to the Chelsea newsletter here, you’ll be receiving the latest news and rumours directly, as well as exclusive articles and content from club writers Sam Inkersole and Adam Newson, all for free!
And if you want to take part in the debate in the comments and join in with the Q&As to get your questions answered, create an account here, because we want to hear from you too.
Rice revealed that Mount shares his excitement for the European Champions and that the two of them are thrilled to be part of the England camp.
“I was speaking about it yesterday to Mase when we got handed the legacy caps, the journey we have both been on together. It is incredible,” he said.
“We are 22 and about to represent our country at a major tournament. We both cannot wait for it to come around.”