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I cried in my room after being released by Arsenal – it was the worst moment

Eze with his England team-mates
-Credit: (Image: GETTY)


Eberechi Eze admitted that he cried in his room 'for a solid week' after he was released by Arsenal in 2011.

The 25-year-old may be on a career high after netting eleven goals and bagging four assists for Crystal Palace this season, but his career has also seen its fair share of lows. While he looks to be approaching the prime of his career in south London – after developing professionally through a four-year stint with QPR – he thought that his career may have been over at the age of 13 when he was released by Arsenal.

Greenwich-born Eze was a part of Arsenal's youth academy in 2006, progressing and developing his game over the next five years before ultimately being released by the club. Speaking to The Independent in 2020, he said: "I was 13 [when I was released]. That was the worst one.

"I remember crying in my room for a solid week, my mum telling me that it’s going to be OK but not being able to get over it. Then I went to Fulham and I was finally starting to enjoy my football again. We played Arsenal a few months later but, when I went over to shake the academy manager’s hand, I started welling up. All the feelings came back."

However, Eze was determined to make it as a professional footballer, citing how if it wasn't with Arsenal, he would have to 'find somewhere else'. Speaking on the Rising Ballers YouTube channel, he said: "My dream was to play for them so hearing them say no at 13 that was tough and I remember like training after I got released and I couldn't focus.

"I was crying but I think that helped me so much in the other rejections because if I can get through Arsenal releasing me I can get through any other club releasing me. My mindset was if it was not going to be Arsenal I have to find somewhere else."

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Eze would be picked up by Fulham shortly after being released by Arsenal, before switching to Reading in 2014. After four months, he would join Millwall's youth academy.

He would be signed on a free by Queen's Park Rangers in 2016, before going on to make his first senior appearance for the club in January 2017. A loan spell to Wycombe Wanderers later that year would see him net five goals in 20 appearances, before Crystal Palace would snap him up for £19.5million in 2020.

Eze playing against Arsenal for Palace
Eze has enjoyed a brilliant season with Crystal Palace -Credit:Getty Images

Other Arsenal youngsters are experiencing the same pain right now, with the club having confirmed that Mohamed Elneny and Cedric Soares are among 19 players who will be released at the end of this month. The Egyptian midfielder and Portuguese full back will depart the Emirates Stadium on June 30, and will be able to join a new team on a free transfer.

Here's a full list of players who will be released by Arsenal later this month:

  • Mauro Bandeira

  • Omari Benjamin

  • Luis Brown

  • Catalin Cirjan

  • Noah Cooper

  • Henry Davies

  • Ovie Ejeheri

  • Mohamed Elneny

  • Taylor Foran

  • Hubert Graczyk

  • James Hillson

  • Henry Jeffcott

  • Tyreece John-Jules

  • Alex Kirk

  • James Lannin-Sweet

  • Arthur Okonkwo

  • Kamarni Ryan

  • Cedric Soares

  • Kido Taylor-Hart