Scotland captain Andy Robertson has told how losing a relative gave him the belief to enjoy a top-flight career.
The 26-year-old Liverpool star recalled how his aunt showed faith in him when he was released by Celtic at the age of 15 in 2009.
But she died on Christmas day 2013, before his career took off with the current English and European champions.
Speaking about being released by his boyhood club as a teenager, Robertson said: “I was a normal 15-year-old lad so there were probably a few tears but my mum and dad got me my favourite curry that night.
“My auntie came up to the house and she told mum ‘I’m telling you, he’ll make it as a footballer’ and that’s something that’s always stayed with me.
“She sadly passed away on Christmas Day when I was at Dundee United.
“She was one that always believed I was something special even when probably nobody believed it when I was younger.
“But that is something that does bug me a little bit, that she’s not seen me lifting the Champions League, lifting the Premier League and things like that.”
Robertson was speaking with his manager Jurgen Klopp in a video filmed as part of the the Heads Up campaign, which seeks to encourage football fans, and men in particular, to feel more confident and comfortable in asking for support.
Robertson said he struggled to open up when he was younger but having children has helped.
The former Dundee United full-back, who was appointed Scotland captain by Alex McLeish two years ago, said: “When I started making it professionally that’s when I struggled the most.
“I was down in Hull on my own and people thought ‘okay, he’s a Premier League footballer, he’s playing for Hull, he’s getting a good wage’ so then people would stop asking ‘how are you?’.
“I used to be one who blocked everything up and thought ‘my problems are my problems’.
“Now I feel so much better. I remember speaking to Rach (his partner) a year ago about something daft, something that was playing on my mind and after a ten-minute conversation with her I felt everything was off (my shoulders) and thought, ‘yeah, I should do this a bit more often’.”