Former Liverpool Academy starlet Toni Silva has given a remarkably honest interview about how hard it is to watch the likes of Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez shine on the world stage, while he toils at Al Ittihad in Egypt.
The Guinea-Bissau international was on our books between 2009 and 2012, but never made a first-team appearance – and has played for nine clubs since – only making 30+ appearances in a season on one occasion.
Silva was highly rated at Kirby, but for whatever reason, he didn’t quite make the cut, despite playing on the same side as Raheem Sterling and Connor Coady.
He’s now threatening to quit the game he once loved, due to the sadness he feels at not reaching the heights of his former team-mates.
“I feel I let myself down somehow but I honestly don’t know what more I could have done,” he told BBC Sport.
“I get frustrated because I thought I deserved a chance and if I had got that opportunity, who knows where I could be now?
“I loved playing for Liverpool but now when I watch Suarez play at Barca, Sterling at City and even Conor Coady at Wolves, I sometimes feel like I just want to give it all up.
“When people are texting me saying ‘that could have been you’, it makes me want to leave football. It makes me feel so down, so sad. I always have this in my mind.
“I used to speak with Paul Pogba when he was at Juventus and he was trying to help put me in touch with a better agent and with some clubs
“But it didn’t work out. The problem is I have never had someone in my life to help me, to guide me, to give me direction and show me the way.
“Agents have taken advantage of me and I’ve had some terrible moves because agents were chasing money, not looking after me.
“I’m just trying to play football to support my family but I’m not sure how much longer I can take it.
“I really want to play in England again and this is keeping me going. I miss it so much and would do anything to play there.
“I think I am still playing now because of what English football taught me. To be tough, to be strong, and to fight. I try to remember this.
“It is normal to get frustrated but I will keep trying. Still, maybe just two or three years more may be enough for me.”
Silva’s story is an important one for any young footballer who has plans for a career in football.
We only really see the glitz and glamour of the elite; but the vast, vast majority of youngsters either drop out of the game or have to toil in various leagues around the world to make a living.
It’s not just about ability, either. Injuries, luck, opportunities and plenty of things in between can play a part.