Sunderland's Keiren Westwood has revealed his rejection at Manchester City as a youngster fuels his desire to be the best.
The 26-year-old joined the Black Cats on a free transfer from Coventry in the summer to complete a remarkable return to the top-flight.
Westwood was released by then Manchester City manager Kevin Keegan at just 19-years-old, which he cites as the turning point in his career.
Non-league outfit Carlisle provided the platform from which he rebuilt his career and he insists it's an experience he would not change.
"Obviously Manchester City is a massive club and when you are there as a kid, you get a bit side-tracked with stars in your eyes because you are training with people you have watched growing up," said Westwood.
"Being released was a big eye-opener and something I needed. Maybe if I hadn't been released, I wouldn't be where I am now.
"I have done things the hard way and it gives you that hunger and desire to achieve.
"Being let go as a young boy at Manchester City at 19 was obviously a kick in the teeth, but the kick up the bum I needed to kick-start my career."
The Republic of Ireland international almost turned his back on professional football completely, as his search for a new team following his release from City drew numerous blanks.
"I had a really bad summer getting passed from pillar to post, on trial here, on trial there and nothing ever working, being promised contracts and then having them taken away," he added.
"It was one of those summers. I was close to being a policemen, signing up for the force.
"I was filling out forms, and then I got a call saying, 'Come up to Carlisle'. I did and have not looked back, really.
"From that day, I have said to myself, 'Look, to get anything in this life, you have to work hard and try to achieve it'."