Declan Rice was too 'embarrassed' to tell pals he had been released by Chelsea and was almost let go by West Ham

DECLAN RICE was too embarrassed to tell his friends that he was released by Chelsea and was almost ditched by West Ham too.

The West Ham and England star suffered a lot of rejection during his days in both the Chelsea and Hammers academy.

Rice was released by his boyhood club Chelsea aged 14 after struggling with the 'physical aspect' of football.

His release made him too embarrassed to tell his friends.

Speaking to Gary Neville on The Overlap, Rice recalled the day he got released.

He said: "Obviously, I was released at 14 by Chelsea, something that I didn’t expect at all.

“It was all I ever knew as a kid, you know, it’s my whole life, going there, training with the mates I’d met.

"And honestly, I felt like that was it – I was gutted, my dad coming home telling me after school.

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“Other clubs find out before you get released about whether you’re going to be released or not, and that night I actually went and trained with Fulham.

“I trained with Fulham on Wednesday that night, and on Thursday I was at West Ham.”

On the embarrassment of being released, he said: "Yeah, definitely.

"I think the embarrassment of it you know, how did you tell your friends that you’ve been released by Chelsea.

“That was a tough one. Also shock, obviously, upset, so I thought where I’m going to go, what I’m going to do from here?

“I still don’t know the exact reason [why Chelsea released me] – I wish I did.

"I think it was probably down to the fact that when I was a kid I was actually tiny.

“I was going for a massive growth spurt at the time – my body wasn’t all connected together, my running pattern was really weird.

“Technical ability was fine, but in terms of the physical aspect of it, I was struggling.”

Rice was also almost released by West Ham aged 16 after causing a '50-50' split among academy coaches.

Half of West Ham's coaches were instructing the club to 'keep him on.'

The 23-year-old said: "It’s a crazy story because West Ham were going to release me as well.

“It was a 50-50 decision.

“Half the coaches were saying: ‘Keep him on’ and half were saying: ‘We’re not too sure’.”

Rice went on to make his professional debut in 2017 against Burnley.

He has since made 175 appearances for the Hammers and has staked a claim to a starting spot in Gareth Southgate's England squad.

Rice has made 27 appearances for the Three Lions and played a key role in helping England reach the Euro 2020 final, forming a formidable partnership with Leeds' Kalvin Phillips.

His contract at West Ham is due to expire in 2024, but the Hammers have an option to extend for a further year.

Nonetheless, some of the 'Big Six' are eyeing summer moves for the impressive midfielder, who says he wants to 'win it all.'

But West Ham will be looking to collect a fee of £100million or MORE.

On the hopes of a trophy-laden career, Rice said: "I don’t want to have a career where I’ve not won anything.

“I’ve grown up seeing all these top players win all the big trophies.

"Me as a football fan, and a player, I want to win the best stuff.

"They’re the best moments of your life.”

He added: "I want to win the Premier League, the Champions League, the FA Cup, the League Cup, even stuff with England.

“I want to win it all and be the best I can.

“As a footballer, if you’ve not got that ambition, why are you playing?”

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