Pellegrini

“Declan was the most talented sports person we’ve ever had at the youth club, he was good at everything, rugby, table tennis and, of course, football,” said Dan Slocombe, who is the centre manager at Dickeridge Lane. “He wasn’t so good at climbing slides, though, as he fell off one and broke his arm when he was quite young!

“We all called him Dave after David Beckham because he was so good at football and I remember us all watching the England v Greece game together at the centre, when Beckham scored the free-kick and everyone was shouting ‘Dave’ at him! He came on a trip to Wembley with us as well in 2013 to watch England v Scotland.”

On the orders of Sean, Rice was only meant to be going to a tournament in Guilford with his uncle Nick Munroe to watch his cousin Taylor, but, behind his father’s back, he ended up playing and caught the attention of a Chelsea scout Bob Osborn.

It was at Chelsea that Rice instantly struck up his friendship with England-team-mate Mason Mount, with whom he progressed through the age levels.

“He was always best mates with Mason and they used to take on the world together because they played in midfield as a pair at Chelsea,” said Beale. “It was a little partnership and they weren’t the biggest or strongest kids, but they had this real character and they were so competitive, they wanted to take on anyone and everyone. Don’t get me wrong, they were a little tag team for us but when they had to play against each other in training, they went at it hammer and tong.”

'He was broken-hearted when Chelsea let him go'

Sean still remembers the Tuesday in February when Rice was released by Chelsea as a 14-year-old – one of his toughest days as a father. 

“It was horrendous,” said Sean of Rice’s Chelsea release. “It was a Tuesday and we were all told we’d get a phone call between 3pm and 5pm. I was at work in my office and as the minutes ticked by I was getting calls from other parents to say ‘we’re in’.

Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/euro-2021/0/declan-rice-england-squad-euros-football-player-euro-team/

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Source:The Daily Telegraph

The making of Declan Rice: Tears at Chelsea axe, stand-up comedy - and how Pellegrini helped him commit to England

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