Portsmouth winger: My former Romford room-mate is now worth £105m and at Arsenal - but West Ham almost released him at 16
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Scully remains immensely proud of how his friend’s career has flourished, particularly after the future England man was almost shown the door at the age of 16.
The Blues newcomer’s time at Upton Park preceded Rice’s, having arrived as an 11-year-old following a successful trial, after spotted as a free-scoring striker for Histon.
During nine years with the Hammers, he featured in a highly-talented youth-team consisting of Joe Powell (Burton), Conor Coventry (West Ham), Dan Kemp (Swindon), Nathan Holland (MK Dons) and Reece Oxford (FC Augsburg, Germany).
Yet it was Rice who stood out the most – both as a friend and player – with the pair still in touch to this day.
Scully told The News: ‘Dec is flying, he’s absolutely flying, he deserves it to be fair, such a great lad.
‘It’s how he is off the pitch with the boys, you want people like that to do well, so I’m delighted for him. He’s a great person.
‘Our group was Dec, Joe Powell, Dan Kemp, Nathan Holland, Reece Oxford and Conor Coventry. It’s mad how many of that team have kicked on.
‘Me and Dec lived together in digs, so he was a good mate of mine. Back then I always said what a good player he was, you could always tell he was special.
‘I actually shared a room with Dec for three years, watching Only Fools And Horses and The Inbetweeners together, two great comedies.
‘Our digs were in Romford, these two houses joined together with 10-12 lads in there, all looked after by Caroline and Jackie, who were amazing.
‘So much of the work those two ladies did went unnoticed, but they did everything for us, looking after me for four years of my life. I cannot speak highly enough of them.
‘Dec was a centre-back or defensive midfielder even back then, we had a very good side to be fair.
‘But do you know what, when he was 16, West Ham were umming and ahing about whether to give him a scholarship!
‘Some of the scouts just couldn’t see it, but, believe me, as his team-mate, I always thought he was class. People don’t give him enough credit for how good he was at that age.’
In 2013, following his Chelsea release at the age of 14, Rice joined West Ham after a successful trial, linking up with Scully too.
However, two years later, the Hammers were contemplating releasing him, only to have a late change of heart.
This summer Rice left for the Emirates Stadium following 245 appearances and 14 goals, while has so far totalled 43 England caps.
Yet Scully recalls how he almost lost his Romford room-mate.
Pompey’s winger added: ‘The problem at that age, where you are growing and your body’s changing, is Dec kind of struggled to adapt.
‘He had a big growth spurt out of nowhere ahead of scholarships, growing quite a lot in a short period of time, and didn’t cope well at the start.
‘He was constantly tired, looked a bit awkward, and was all over the place in their eyes.
‘Dec will say it himself, I always said it to him at that age, he was very good, I don’t know how people even questioned him. I looked past the puberty side of it and the growing – you could tell.
‘Luckily they made the right decision because he has gone on to become one of West Ham’s greatest-ever players and deserved everything.
‘We keep in touch when we can, but with football you are constantly changing clubs, so pass through players. There’s not many lads from football I text regularly.
‘Although me and Dec will remain in touch, definitely.’