After rising from the basement of English football to successfully make his name known at Southampton, recently retired Rickie Lambert has revealed that he 'fell out of love' with the game after switching to Liverpool in 2014 from the Saints.
During his time at St. Mary's, Lambert, 35, managed to notch 117 goals on the south coast, a record which got him recognised by his boyhood club on Merseyside, a switch which would have presumably been a dream come true for the prolific, working-class hero.
But, after accepting that he would play second fiddle to the likes of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge despite being a weekly starter for Southampton formally, Lambert says that his move to Anfield ultimately lead him to 'lose something mentally'.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Lambert said: "I was getting well paid but I never started playing football for the money.
“And when I decided to go to Liverpool I sacrificed a regular first-team place and that was when I started to fall out of love with it.
“I never should have accepted being on the bench, even though Brendan Rodgers had made it clear to me I would be back-up for Suarez and Sturridge.
“I was never as quick or as technically good as the best players, but in my own head, when it came to actually playing, I could convince myself I was the best."
Whilst earning 11 caps for his country and scoring three goals in the process, Lambert only featured 36 times for Liverpool during his stint at the club in all competitions, a lack of football which ultimately stunted his confidence.
“But when I joined up with England I felt lucky to be there, and it was the same at Liverpool." He added.
“And when I look back now I realise I lost something mentally as a player by allowing that to happen.”