The son of Manchester United legend Steve Bruce has revealed how he was the only one cut from the club's academy team.
Alex Bruce is now a pillar in Leeds United's defence after being rejected by the Red Devils as a junior.
"With my dad playing for United, I was basically brought up at the place," he recalled to the Daily Mail.
"I was taken on as a striker at nine years old and was 16 when decision time arrived. I had been switched to midfield but had done all right and was hopeful.
"I remember being called over to Carrington on a Tuesday night. We all had individual appointments, and you could feel the tension.
"I was sat next to my best mate Phil Bardsley, and we were both on edge, wondering whether we had done enough. It looked promising, though, because one after another went in and came out a couple of minutes later, happy as Larry.
"One or two were real borderline cases but were being kept on. My turn came, and in I went. As I sat down and looked at Les Kershaw and Paul McGuinness, they just blurted out "Sorry" and made an excuse about how they didn't feel they had a proper position for me and couldn't see me holding down a regular spot.
"They added it might be the right time to move on and have a crack elsewhere, and that was it.
"I was the only one being released, and I had to step out of that office, look the rest of the lads in the eye and wish them all the best. Rejection is a horrible thing, and at that moment, it was the worst feeling I'd ever had.
"I was devastated, and it didn't help having to break the news to my mum and dad and sister Amy. My dad was often playing for United when I was banging the goals in as a kid, but mum and Amy were always there on the touchline in all weathers.
"It hurt having to tell them I hadn't made it. It's something I will always think about, but at least it made me say to myself, 'I'm going to get to grips with this now and prove that those people who let me go were wrong'.
"Looking back, it's probably the best thing I ever did, leaving United and going to Blackburn. The academy directors there got hold of me, saw I had the makings of a centre half and began moulding me into one.
"They taught me about the position and what a winning mentality was all about, and I owe them so much."