West Ham star Declan Rice was apparently “broken-hearted” and cried when he failed to make it in Chelsea’s academy earlier in his career.
The Hammers midfielder, now a star player in the Premier League and for the England national team, has come a long way since then and his superb performances have seen him become the subject of Chelsea transfer rumours and speculation ahead of this summer’s window.
MORE: Chelsea fans excited by social media hint over transfer target
Rice has been linked with Chelsea by the Daily Mail and others, and it seems like it could be encouraging for fans of the west London giants to hear just how much the player was disappointed to be let go by the club when he was there as a youngster.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Rice’s father made it clear just how badly the England international took the news before managing to rebuild his career at West Ham after also having offers from Tottenham, Fulham and others.
“It was horrendous,” Rice’s dad said. “It was a Tuesday and we were all told we’d get a phone call between 3pm and 5pm. I was at work in my office and as the minutes ticked by I was getting calls from other parents to say ‘we’re in’.
“I stayed behind at the office to wait for the call which didn’t come until about 7pm. When it did, they just said unfortunately Declan had not met the required standard, but that he would be welcome to keep training at Chelsea while he looked for another club.
“I remember that drive home just thinking ‘what am I going to say to him?’ I walked in and Declan was sitting on the stairs and I just shook my head, and he bolted up to his bedroom.
“He was broken-hearted, crying. I always remember saying: ‘There’s 91 other clubs out there’. John Terry, who was Chelsea captain then, got his number and spent 45 minutes on the phone with him, which meant a lot.
“We kept him off school the next day because he was upset and the next night was training at Chelsea. Declan was adamant he wanted to go, so we were in the car on the A3 when the phone rang and I answered it on hands free. It was Fulham asking if he wanted to go and train, so we turned the car around and he went there.”