Former West Ham academy star Joseph Joseph has admitted he was hurt to leave the club but insists he never gave up on his dream to become a professional footballer.
The 16-year-old was released by the Hammers after a six-month stint following a similarly fruitless spell at Crystal Palace. He ended up at Southend United before being picked up by Wolverhampton Wanderers, where he recently signed a professional contract.
He told London News Online: "The standard was really high (at West Ham), so I was getting better all the time. They have a good academy. I was upset to be let go. It hurt. But I did not give up. If I had, I would not be at Wolves now. I knew that sometimes you have to go lower to go higher."
He added: "(Wolves) had wanted me for a while. Other clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City wanted to talk to me. Mum didn’t realise fees could be paid for kids. She’s been telling me to stay focused, despite the money.
"The key is to keep improving. I stay behind to do extra sessions after training ends, getting used to using both feet and heading the ball more.
"I am always doing things that will make me better, even if it means just watching other players in games. With the right attitude, I have a better chance of getting there."