Declan Rice has opened up on getting released by Chelsea as a teenager, revealing that the news came as a “massive shock”.
The West Ham mainstay was on the books at Stamford Bridge from the age of eight, but was let go at 14 – an exit that ultimately facilitated his move to east London.
But speaking to The Guardian, Rice revealed that his dismissal by the Blues hit him hard.
He said: “I never got the reason why I was released. When we tried to find out they told us to come in for a meeting, which was then cancelled.
“I was very close to my mum and dad, we did everything together, and I still remember the massive shock when I came home from school.
“I was thinking it would be something about when I could go full-time, and my dad said I was released. I cried my eyes out for about an hour.”
Unfortunately for Rice, and for countless other kids up and down the country, this is the harsh reality of trying to make it as a professional footballer. You can invest all of your time, efforts, and dreams into pursuing a career in the sport, but if somebody higher up doesn’t fully believe in you, you can be sent packing with a snap of the fingers. In Rice’s case though, his talent was always going to shine through, and clearly Chelsea’s loss has been West Ham’s gain. The youngster has averaged a pass completion rate of 89.5% so far this season, as well as 3.8 tackles, 2.3 interceptions, and a Whoscored rating of 7.05. He keeps getting better and better for the Hammers, and continues to look closer and closer to being the finished article.