DECLAN RICE revealed how a phone call from Chelsea legend John Terry during his darkest moment helped turn him into one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.
The West Ham star, now 23, has put himself back on the Blues' radar with a string of impressive performances at the London Stadium – which have also earned him international recognition.
But things looked bleak for the England international in 2014 when he was given the boot by the Blues after having trained with them as a schoolboy.
And in the crestfallen teenager's moment of need, club legend Terry reached out to the future star 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 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.
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"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 finally got his chance after impressing during a trial at West Ham, and is now skipper of David Moyes' side.
The former Chelsea academy star's displays for the east Londoners have seen him become a perennial starter for Gareth Southgate's England side.
In just three years, Rice has made 32 appearances for the Three Lions and scored two goals.
Rice's dominance in the heart of the Hammers' midfield has also seen him attack the interest of Chelsea's Premier League title rivals.
Both Manchester City and Manchester United are understood to be interested in acquiring his services, but any deal would likely cost over £100million.
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