There are three types of players; those with the work ethic but not much ability, those with the ability but not much work ethic and those with the work ethic and the ability.

The latter is very rare to find, and that is what makes Cristiano Ronaldo one of the best, if not the best player in the world – that topic is for another debate.

The end of the football season is drawing near and for some teenagers this can make or break their lives. At the end of a Youth Team Scholarship the fate of your future passes over to the clubs hierarchy. Am I going to be one of the lucky players to get offered a professional contract? Or am I going to be a failure?

I sit here writing this knowing that I was once in your position, I was one of the failures but it is not this that makes or breaks a person, unless you let it do so. I chose before that ultimate decision that no matter what happened I was going to choose my destiny, education was there for me, and if I was lucky, so was football, I provided myself with options to better myself. 

Since turning a teenager you have seen your name up in lights, you were the cool kid on the playground, your peers hoped you would become that famous footballer you dreamt of. You breathe an air of invincibility during school, after school and as soon as you first stepped into your position as a scholar.

But for you, the season is over and your hopes of becoming a professional footballer have been dashed. The joyous pandemonium you once felt stepping onto the field with your mates on a Saturday morning now belong to the next group of scholars, because this feeling is no longer yours – that air of invincibility has been stolen from you.

The pain you are feeling now should be that pain that drives you onto success. Success is not just found on a football pitch or in £1 million mansion, success is knowing that you have worked harder than anyone else and you have liberated yourself from the clutch of others, you are happy.

The power of football is so intoxicating that once you love it, you are addicted to it but there are more routes, football is not the only way, there is more to life than football, it took me 22 years to find that out.

This post is not intended to make you hate football but it is time for parents, coaches, teachers and ourselves to emphasise the importance of putting some of your time into improving your academics  to give yourself the best opportunities if football is no longer providing for you.

Ask yourself the question, can you break the mould? Too many live on their past experiences; blaming coaches, players and managers for their failures. The word ‘favouritism’ is branded around, don’t let this be your excuse – it’s time for you to break the mould.

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