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West Ham midfielder Declan Rice: Chelsea axe massive shock

Declan Rice has spoken of how he managed to sign for West Ham United.

Rice was part of Chelsea's academy until he was dumped without warning in 2013.

"It was a massive shock," he says. "I came home after school and thought I was odds-on to go full time and my dad said I was released. I just broke down because that was all I'd known since I was eight. I lived 10 minutes away in Kingston, it was training every Tuesday and Thursday, playing every Saturday.

"I'd gone through a massive growth spurt that year and was running like Bambi on ice, my body wasn't used to it. I don't know if that was the reason I got released because I never got told. They said I should come in for a meeting but then they cancelled it.

"Word gets round when players get released. I found out I was being released at half-past three and then I got a phone call of Dan Rice [Fulham scout, no relation] and at seven o'clock that evening I was training there. The next day, Dave Hunt from West Ham called my dad and after two sessions there they wanted to sign me.

"I had to deal with a lot at a young age. Being released, then having to move away at 14. When I got released, me and Mase [Mason Mount] always said we'd play together again, our families said it too. We just thought it would be at club level some day, not England."

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Paul Vegas

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