The 23-year-old has enjoyed another reputation-enhancing season at the heart of the Irons’ midfield, following on from his eye-catching exploits for the the Three Lions at last year’s European Championships.
Rice has powered the Hammers’ pursuit of European glory and challenge for a top four place, but his future remains a matter of intense speculation.
Reports last week, vehemently denied by David Moyes, suggested Rice had rejected the offer of a new contract, while the Hammers are said to want a British-record fee if they are to part with their prize asset.
Manchester United and Chelsea are chief among Rice’s admirers, while Manchester City are also said to view the midfielder as a potential replacement for the long-serving Fernandinho who is set to leave at the end of the season.
Responding to West Ham’s reported valuation, Rice told Sky Sports: ‘I feel like playing well comes with speculation.
‘I’ve had two or three top seasons with West Ham and the top clubs around the country are always going to be watching. It’s not just me, it’s the same for every player.
‘I think it’s important not to get too carried away with that. We’ve had a good season with West Ham and there have been big games
‘I’ve had to play in so I feel like my focus has always been on that. If I thought about other things, I’d get carried away and that wouldn’t be fair on the team or the manager.
‘I can’t help speculation, even with the numbers that get talked about. I get battered for it all the time on social media, but I can’t help that. I can help by going on the pitch and performing as best as I can.
‘They [West Ham team-mates] wind me up all the time. It’s crazy to speak about to be honest, so I just kind of block it out and do what I do best and that’s play football.’
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