Former England striker Rickie Lambert has revealed he became disillusioned with football following his transfer to Liverpool from Southampton.
Lambert this week called time on his career following a nomadic 19-year career that witnessed the player ply his trade in all four tiers of the English game.
Lambert’s best years were spent at Southampton and it was his form on the south coast that earned him a £4million move to Anfield in the summer of 2014.
But Lambert only spent one year at his boyhood club, before equally frustrating spells followed at West Brom and then Cardiff.
However, Lambert pinpoints that move to Merseyside as the beginning of the end for him.
“If I’m honest it was like that for the last three years, after I left Southampton,” he told the Daily Mail in an interview.
“I didn’t play much at Liverpool and it was the same at West Brom and then Cardiff.
“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 backup for [Luis] Suarez and [Daniel] Sturridge.”
Lambert also admits his confidence was given a reality check when moving to Anfield.
“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,” he said.
“But when I joined up with England I felt lucky to be there, and it was the same at Liverpool.
“And when I look back now I realise I lost something mentally as a player, by allowing that to happen.”