Former West Ham striker Dean Ashton has spoken of his time breaking through at Crewe Alexandra.
And he admits, even today, he still reflects on that part of his career.
“One of the biggest problems I had was that I came through very quickly," Ashton told the Express & Star. “At 17, I was playing for Crewe and people were saying 'Liverpool are looking at you. Man United are looking at you'. I was 17 or 18 years old, I had a bit of money and I was doing well at that level.
“But my form dipped like it does for a lot of young players and I struggled to get it back.
“It had been easy for me to take it for granted that I was going to start every week.
“And suddenly I lost my place when I was in League One. For about 10 to 15 games, I could not get in the team.
“But the year before I was in the Championship and starting every game as a 17-year-old.
“It knocked my confidence a bit and it took me a bit of time to realise that if I was going to make it I do actually have to put the work in – it wasn't just going to happen naturally."