West Ham captain Declan Rice lays down challenge to Elland Road faithful amid unique Leeds United claim

West Ham United midfielder Declan Rice claims he has ‘never’ experienced a stadium atmosphere like Elland Road.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 3:24 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 4:17 pm

In January, Leeds’ barnstorming Jack Harrison-inspired victory over West Ham United at the London Stadium was a glimmer of hope amid a tough season.

But earlier in the campaign, the Hammers inflicted a miserable 2-1 defeat upon Leeds at Elland Road as the Whites went a sixth Premier League game without a win.

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United fans felt their team might be on their way to shaking off a tricky start to the season when Raphinha opened the scoring in LS11 in September 2021.

But after a deflect Jarrod Bowen effort levelled the scores after half time, Rice set up Michail Antonio to bag a late winner in the 90th minute to the despair of the home support.

Though the afternoon ended in victory for Rice’s side, the experience made quite an impression on the England international, who insists the Elland Road atmosphere is something quite unique.

“Going to grounds such as Leeds and Everton last year, they are such tough grounds,” Rice told YouTube show Tubes and Ange’s Golf Life. “And their players are strong men.

West Ham United's English midfielder Declan Rice reacts prior to the start of the English Premier League football match between West Ham United and Manchester City at the London Stadium, in London on May 15, 2022. - - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

“Then the crowd (get behind them). It’s a tough stadium.

"Like Leeds, I have never seen anything like it. It’s proper.”

This season, David Moyes’ side will go hunting for points at Elland Road on Monday January 2 2023.

But Rice isn’t afraid of the hostile energy inside the Whites’ home crowd – if anything, he welcomes it.

LEEDS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: West Ham player Declan Rice has words with Liam Cooper during the Premier League match between Leeds United and West Ham United at Elland Road on September 25, 2021 in Leeds, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

"I love it,” Rice revealed. “I love getting stick from opposition fans.

"I am buzzing off it.”