Former Liverpool star Jamie Carragher has leapt to the defence of West Ham’s Declan Rice, who has received criticism for turning down a reported £12,000-a-week new contract offer with the club.
Rice, 19, who is a product of West Ham’s academy, has been one of their star performers of the season so far.
However, the defender-cum-midfielder has yet to commit his long-term future with his boyhood club.
And Carragher, who spent his entire club career at local team Liverpool, said he sympathised with Rice and claimed there is extra pressure on local lads to be “seen to be grateful” just to be playing in the first team.
Speaking to talkSPORT’s Adrian Durham and Darren Gough, Carragher said: “I thought it was a bit out of order from some of the callers saying Rice was getting too big for his boots or he’s got to be careful about this or that.
“But to be honest I look at him and it’s not just Declan Rice, it’s every young player who comes through at a Premier League club or any club always have to be seen to be grateful they’re playing and they can’t just ask for a bit more money.
“If there was a young foreign player signed from abroad there’d be no questions about what they deserve.
“I felt it when I was playing that because I was a local lad at Liverpool I had to be seen to be grateful.
“Local players coming through at their football clubs are definitely treated differently financially.
“This is a lad who could be West Ham’s main man over the next five or six years so I think it’s unfair he gets the criticism for not accepting the first offer he’s given.”
The Drivetime duo offered a counterpoint to Carragher’s argument, suggesting offering Rice a significantly higher wage could lead to a decline in form as he could become less motivated with a higher pay packet.
Goughie went on to propose whether there could be a way the Professional Footballers’ Association could moderate the amount of wages a young player can have access to until they are deemed to be mature enough to deal with their large wages.
Carragher added: “I totally agree Goughie and I had this conversation with Brendan Rodgers when he was manager of Liverpool.
“He’d been at the youth set-up at Chelsea where notoriously we heard stories about wages and that and he said ‘we’re actually paying players to fail’.
“And what he meant by that is that we’re giving players so much so early that they do lose the motivation. He felt that was a big problem at Chelsea when they were there.
“However, Rice has actually got himself into the West Ham team unlike those Chelsea players. Rice seems like he’s has a fantastic attitude and fingers crossed he won’t be the type to get carried away with it.”