Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has stressed the importance of self-belief to youngsters hoping to make their way in the professional game.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the Blues' Asian Soccer Star search project, Anelka recalled his own early days at the Clarefontaine academy in France.
"I've got two brothers and they used to play so I wanted to be like them," the 31-year-old told his club's official website.
"You practice, I used to play every Sunday in a small team and one day we played against Paris St Germain, I played good and they saw me and asked me to come and sign for them as a kid. So I signed for them and I turned professional.
"When you start to play you never know what will happen. You have to believe, to be professional you have to work hard, and you need to stay focused."
And the French international maintains that a thick skin is also sometimes necessary as the game can treat youngsters harshly.
"Sometimes things are good and sometimes bad, life is like that and also football is the same," he added.
"When we first joined Clairefontaine and we first came in the room, the coach said, "There are 24 of you but only four will be professional, you need to know." You have to believe otherwise you will not succeed.
"There was a lot of pressure. When you sign to this kind of school you know it is one of the best and you have a good chance to be professional but it is hard, it is your future.
"I think it helped me because you know it is going to be like that as a professional until the end of your career."
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