Making a career out of football isn't easy and hasn't been easy, if you want to be successful you have to be willing to dedicate your life, make sacrifices and work hard.
We all face disappointments in life but it is how you react to them that is important. Certainly at a young age I faced many disappointments, from not getting picked for squads to not getting a contract across the water after a number of trials. You will face many lows in your career and I am sure you will have faced some already but you have to have a determination, mindset, work ethic to prove people wrong whether it is after a bad performance or a coach not picking you. The highs will certainly outweigh the lows and you will have plenty throughout your life in football. This has been the case for me in my career with Linfield Football Club.
(Picture Credit: Belfast News Letter)
I have been very privileged to spend 15 years at Linfield and enjoy a lot of successes over that period of time, although it has not been easy and I have had to make many sacrifices along the way. Linfield were the local team that I supported growing up and went to watch regularly. Being able to play for them and to be the Club Captain has been a dream. Being Captain brings that added pressure as you have to be an example and perform to high a standard on a regular basis. Throughout my time at Linfield I have faced many challenges and lows. One being the expectation every week to win which causes a lot of pressure, every team are desperate to beat us. If we don't win we are criticised by supporters whether it be during or after the game on social media or by the press. Linfield are a club that always look to sign the best players and constantly looking to improve, the challenge for me is to continue to try to be the best and that comes with hard work and looking after my body.
During my career I have been very fortunate to be involved in a lot of successes with a lot of great teams and squads which plays a huge part in the clubs history. I suppose the highlight of my career with Linfield was the 6 year era we had when we were winning trophy after trophy. We were a talented team but we were a team that worked incredibly hard and had a great manager that wouldn't accept anything less, we got our rewards each year because of this. We were a team that enjoyed the success but we were humble with it and looked to the next challenge straight away, we never stood still or became complacent.
For young footballers today that have aspirations to make a career in football it is important that you enjoy playing the game and are happy in your environment. Have a hunger, a desire, be willing to make sacrifices and go the extra mile. I have said you will face disappointments and lows but do not let that stop you or put you off, it is how you react is what matters.
You will enjoy the experiences, memories and friendships. It is all worth it.