Mikel Arteta expects Rice's West Ham return to be a 'beautiful moment'

Mikel Arteta expects Declan Rice’s return to the London Stadium to be a ‘beautiful moment’ – as the former Hammers skipper prepares to take on his old side for the first time since his £105m summer move

  • England midfielder will face his old club for the first time since joining Arsenal
  • Rice captained West Ham to victory in the Europa Conference League last term
  • Listen to the latest episode of Mail Sport’s podcast ‘It’s All Kicking Off!’ 

Declan Rice’s return to West Ham on Wednesday will be a ‘beautiful moment’ according to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.

The 24-year-old moved across London for a club-record £105million in the summer. Rice, who had been at the Hammers since the age of 14, captained the club to their first major trophy for 43 years in June in the Europa Conference League final, the last of his 245 games there. 

Ahead of Wednesday’s last-16 Carabao Cup tie, Arteta said: ‘He’s fit and can be involved. It will be his first time back at his old club and a beautiful moment for him.

‘Every time you hear him talk about West Ham and what they did for him, he cannot talk any higher so hopefully it will be the same way towards him.’

Rice has made a great start to life in north London and has started all 10 of the Gunners’ Premier League outings this term. 

Mikel Arteta said he expects Rice’s welcome to be a ‘beautiful moment’ on Wednesday

Declan Rice is set to make his first appearance at the London Stadium since his £105m move

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David Moyes has urged West ham to welcome back their former skipper with ‘open arms’

The England international has also popped up with two goals at crucial moments for Arteta’s title chasers. First, against Manchester United in a tight clash last month. 

Before grabbing the goal that sparked an Arsenal revival in a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge against a resurgent Chelsea side. 

Ahead of the clash, his former manager David Moyes implored Hammers fans to welcome their ex-skipper with ‘open arms’.

‘You’ve got to remember this is the man who lifted this club’s first European trophy in more than 50 years,’ He said.

‘He should be welcomed back with open arms. We’re all looking forward to seeing him again.

‘He was a brilliant member of the team. He led the team brilliantly well. He conducted himself impeccably as a West Ham captain and as a player.

The most important thing was that he gave 100 per cent in every game, even though we sort of knew he probably wasn’t going to stay at West Ham. So all credit to him. He conducted himself brilliantly well and for that alone he deserves to be cheered.’


It’s All Kicking Off is an exciting new podcast from Mail Sport that promises a different take on Premier League football.

It is available on MailOnline, Mail+, YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify.

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