West Ham’s rising star Declan Rice has paid tribute to Chelsea legend John Terry in helping turn his career around.
Rice has proved a revelation at the Hammers this season – with his vast contribution seeing him being courted by England and the Republic of Ireland at present.
The 19-year-old joined West Ham after being released by Chelsea as a 14-year-old in 2014.
Following the bad news, Terry – who was still Chelsea captain – took time out of his schedule to ring and reassure Rice. That 45-minute call has never been forgotten by Rice who idolised the centre back growing up.
‘John would speak to the parents and take his time to get to know young players and families. For a club captain to do that is quality,’ he reflected to the Times.
‘I based my whole game on John when I was younger. When I was released by Chelsea he called for 45 minutes and I remember I was sat in my room next to my dad.
‘It was John Terry – I could not believe it.
‘He handed over all his experience and advice. He said to never stop, always keep working hard and give everything you have.
‘It stayed in my head, and look where I am now. No dream is far away.
‘I last met John for a two-hour breakfast with my cousin about six months ago. Sometimes I text him, like when he retired and he replied “Thanks mate, it is your time now”.’
Rice will be hoping to maintain his impressive form on Saturday when West Ham travel to Huddersfield in the Premier League.