Declan Rice has revealed how a call from John Terry during his darkest moment helped turn him into the player he is today including being voted Hammer of the year last season.
But in 2014 the picture looked a whole lot bleaker for the teenager after he was released by Chelsea having trained with them as a schoolboy.
It was then that John Terry intervened by reaching out to the youngster who had idolised him as a child.
Rice told the Times in 2018: “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. I based my whole game on John when I was younger. When Chelsea released me 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.'”
Terry started out with famous East End feeder club Senrab before joining West Ham’s Academy setup under legendary youth director Tony Carr.
The centre back seemed to be at the perfect place having come from a family of West Ham fans including dad Ted and brother Paul.
Indeed Terry’s dad once told now defunct tabloid The News of the World that it was his dream to see his son captain the Hammers.
Terry returned to West Ham in 2010 to play in Tony Carr’s testimonial acknowledging the start West Ham gave him in his career.