Ray Winstone couldn't read until he was 11.

The Hollywood actor has admitted that a combination of laziness and a lack of enthusiasm for school meant he wasn't able to read until much later than his classmates.

He shared: ''I could not read personally until I was 11. It was laziness, And at the time. It was just being behind and I didn't take school seriously.

''When I moved to North London I was two years behind in education.''

Ray, 60, is currently appearing in the boxing movie 'Jawbone', which centres on former fighter Jimmy McCabe who returns to his childhood boxing club after his life hits an all-time low.

And Ray says own experiences with the sport provided him with a ''street education''.

He told the BBC: ''So you went to a boxing club and it kind of kept you off the streets: kept you out of trouble.

''I would have loved to have been a world champion but I never had that talent. And I wasn't dedicated.''

Ray enjoyed considerable success as an amateur fighter, representing England on two occasions.

But the London-born actor revealed he disliked wearing a head guard in the ring, because he thought it created a bigger target for his opponents.

Ray said: ''To me wearing a head guard is a dangerous thing, because a head guard is a bigger target scratch and it is not about the connection it is about the shaking of the brain.

''You've got to be careful. And that is you a blindside as well when you are boxing.''

Despite his boxing background, Ray has established himself as one of Hollywood's most respected actors.

But he is still frustrated by the lack of attractive roles that are thrown his way.

Ray explained: ''Sometimes you take a part because you got to pay the rent - and it is as simple as that.

''Then you go back and make a film like ['Jawbone'] and it is low budget. It is about what you started doing the whole thing for. You remember where you come from.''