Crystal Palace midfielder, Ebere Eze has revealed that the rejected he suffered from the hands of Arsenal as a kid brought him tears but made him stronger and the player he is today.
The 22-year-old joined the Eagles at the summer from Queens Park Rangers (QPR) and has already proved doubters wrong by settling into the premier league and voted Palace’s best player for November.
Speaking with Premier League Productions, Eze said: “Me and my brothers played [football] at every opportunity we could with our friends and neighbours around the area. I think that’s the first proper look at football we all got; we wanted to play football to enjoy it.
“There was never any pressure, anything, just the idea of going out to play with our friends. The longer I held on to that, the easier it was for me to be at clubs and still try to have that mentality.
“I got scouted by a few clubs and that’s when I first went to Arsenal. At a young age, it was hard, especially being released. My mum and I cried, everyone was so upset – that’s all you know at that age.
“But looking back at it now, that’s the start of my journey and I’m grateful to God that’s how it went. If it wasn’t for that, I may not have got the resilience, bravery, to go and be who I want to be elsewhere. It’s shaped me to be who I am today.
“I was coming to terms with how difficult it was going to be. That’s what it was for me, realising this is going to be a lot harder than I may have thought, getting a pro contract somewhere and becoming what I want to become. I knew that was a bit further than I once thought.”
Eze will feature for Crystal Palace when they play in-form Aston Villa in a Premier League game on Boxing Day.