Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda has spoken of his rise to prominence over the course of the last 12 months.
Mandanda signed from Le Harve at the Stade Velodrome last summer and enjoyed a terrific season in Ligue 1.
However, prior to his switch to Marseille he had a trial at Premier League side Aston Villa but failed to make an impression on club's coaching staff.
The 23-year-old was selected in Raymond Domenech's France squad for Euro 2008, and featured for his country in Wednesday evening's friendly triumph over Sweden.
"It was complex because I wanted to play in Ligue 1, but the clubs didn't dare to offer me an opportunity," Mandanda told L'Equipe.
"Indeed, I never played at such a level before and I was young. In July, I went for a trial at Aston Villa.
"It was not settled because the English officials believed I was not the keeper they needed.
"Finally, I was prepared to start again a season in Ligue 2 with Le Havre. Then, Marseille came for me."