Danny Mills has revealed how he was told he had no future at Manchester City by manager Sven Goran Eriksson.
Mills, who was in the England squad Eriksson took to the 2002 World Cup finals, told the Sunday Mirror: "Sven looked me in the eye and was brutally honest with me - he told me I would be lucky to play three or four games before Christmas.
"That's bitterly disappointing for any footballer to hear, but it was also a difficult situation for Sven to be faced with and I went away with nothing but respect for the man because of the way he handled it.
"He said I could stay and fight for my place in the team or I could leave and he wouldn't stand in my way. "I told him I would rather leave the club if I wasn't getting regular first team football.
"I feel I've got several years left in me yet. I'm working hard, keeping my fitness as high as it can be and making sure when I get a chance I take it.
"There was no arguing or harsh words, we just shook hands and parted on good terms.
"In my experience, honesty is a quality that is very rare in football management. Whenever I've gone to ask other managers about my role in the team, they have usually looked the other way and blamed everyone from the chairman to the tea-lady."
Mills, who remains determined to prove his worth at the highest level, went on: "I've been at clubs in the past where those players who were deemed surplus to requirements were made to train alone, with the kids, or in the car-park.
"Sven hasn't done that. He has kept every senior player involved with the first-team squad and we have all responded to that.
"I knew that Sven is very good at building team spirit. And even though I'm not likely to be involved on match days, it's a very happy camp at City at the moment."