Everybody football on the planet would jump at the opportunity to became a regular for their club.
The chance to walk out in front of a stadium of adoring fans every week, the thrill of scoring a goal for the side you have loved since childhood; it’s the stuff dreams are made of.
In that respect, Declan Rice is living the dream.
The 20-year-old has made himself into one of the most integral parts of Manuel Pellegrini’s team, and has performed at such a high level that even in the relatively short time he has been a senior payer, he has made himself all but undroppable.
That form may be something of a double-edged sword though.
On the one hand, having a player of Rice’s quality is never a bad thing, on the other, it is bound to attract interest from elsewhere.
As reported in the Express, Manchester United are reportedly interested in the midfielder, and you get the impression that that could just be the tip of the iceberg in terms of sides eyeing him up.
The latest comments from Rice himself could be seen as fairly ambiguous as well.
Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “We finished five points off seventh so if you look at it that way, it’s gutting, but it was a great season.
“I think the lads have really worked hard and everyone deserves a really well-rested break, because people don’t really see what goes behind the scenes. We’re in every day, training hard, so it was nice to win on Sunday.”
On the surface, it is good to hear how much Rice clearly wants to achieve success with the Hammers. Missing out on Europe is not the end of the world, but the fact that he sees it as a big deal shows how hungry he is to do well.
Dig a little deeper, however, and things could be interpreted differently.
What if the Hammers miss out again this year and Rice decides that he needs to be playing at that level to achieve his potential?
What if he already thinks that?
It’s supposition, but these kind of thoughts will no doubt bothering the Hammers already, let alone if and when they become a reality.