AFC Fylde winger Ben Tollitt is glad he made his way up in the game the hard way.
Having been let go by Everton, the Liverpudlian was playing both Sunday league and non-league while still a teenager.
He would ultimately sign for Portsmouth at the age of 20, and speaking as part of an extended interview with this site, Tollitt said he is glad of the route he had.
“I left Everton and then I didn’t really play for six months, to be honest with you. Obviously I was devastated that I left Everton, but because all I’d known was academy footy, I didn’t really know anywhere to go and play.
“About six months later, a lad who I played with in the team I got scouted at by Everton, at the age of seven, just got in touch and said ‘do you wanna come and play for us?’ I played for them, Sunday league, and then from there, went to play at Vauxhall Motors for a little bit.
“Then Widnes took me at 17/18, and I just played men’s football from that age. Still growing up and developing, and it was a massive learning curve, but probably the best one I could have had, because some lads who come through academies don’t play men’s footy until 20/21.
“So I was getting kicked left, right and centre. I was playing Sunday league still, but adults, while still playing for Widnes on a Saturday. From out the blue, I just got scouted by Portsmouth, asked down for a trial, and the rest is the rest.”