Andreas Christensen admits he almost quit the game at the age of 14.
Now a Champions League winner with Chelsea, the defender admits his junior development didn’t always go to plan.
He wrote for chelseafc.com: “I started as a striker, dribbling a lot, doing all the tricks and scoring goals. Then I went onto midfield, where I was on the ball a lot and you had to be a good technical player. So when I became a defender, I would still drive the ball up to midfield.
“My Dad ended up coaching me again in the Brøndby Under-14s or Under-15s, and I had a few other coaches, but I remember two in particular: Nils Nielsen and John Ranum. Those two had a big impact on what I was doing.
“The first one took me as a midfielder, and he put me at centre-back. He said he could see me going far in this position and that meant a lot, because without that I wouldn’t be where I am today. Then the other one had a way of coaching that was great for me personally. So those two – and my Dad as well – gave me a lot to be thankful for.
“It wasn’t always easy for me at that age, though. I was almost thrown into the second team the year after my Dad coached me because I didn’t perform. It must have been Under-15s. I had a bad year or so and you wonder to yourself, ‘Do I actually want to continue doing this?’
“It’s just that moment when it goes badly and you think, ‘Is it even worth it?’
“But then you have a great game and suddenly you’re starting again, and it all goes quickly the other way.
“That was about two-and-a-half years before I joined Chelsea, but at that time I never thought that far ahead. I just thought I had to play football.”