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Chris Mepham: I felt like my time in football was done

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Bournemouth defender Chris Mepham admits he thought his time in football was over when he was released by Chelsea at 14 years-old.

Chris Mepham is a 21-year old defender who plays for Bournemouth and the national team of Wales.

The youngster started his football career in the Chelsea Football Academy, but he was released in 2012 at the age of 14.

Mepham was still a kid back then, but he was afraid that his career had ended before it had begun, following two unsuccessful trials at QPR and Watford.

“I sort of felt like my time in football was done,” he told Sky Sports. “As I would do, obviously, getting released from Chelsea.

“Going on trial at QPR, Watford and getting turned away – you question your own belief and where you want to be. At that time I didn’t feel confident in football. I just felt like carrying on trying would be a waste of time.

“Luckily, I had a change of heart and went for that Brentford trial and I’d like to think it has paid off.

“When I joined North Greenford, in my head I knew that was it really for me. I had the opportunities and was turned away, so where do you go next? Little did I know it would take me here.”

Mepham joined Bournemouth two months ago in a £12 million transfer deal. He won his maiden call-up to the senior team for the 2018 China Cup and made his international debut in the 6-0 victory over China in March 2018.

He also played in the UEFA Nations League games against Republic of Ireland and Denmark.

The Nations League game was probably the biggest in my career to date,” he added. “Obviously now, a qualifying game, that’s completely different.

“It’s a different type of test against a very good Slovakia team. We’ve got to prepare in the right way and hopefully, we come out on top. I think every game (in our group) is a must win really. It’s important in front of a home crowd.

“Every time I sing the (Welsh) national anthem I get goosebumps. My dad and mum have been at games and it’s exactly the same for them.

“It’s nice to have my Welsh connection. I have family in Wales. It’s a big thing for the family. Every time I play it’s a proud moment to put the shirt on.”