MY BRIGHT FU­TURE

De­fender Liam Rose­nior is lov­ing life on the south coast at Brighton

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Chris Dunlavy

WIM­BLE­DON Com­mon and Wemb ley Sta­dium aren’t sep­a­rated by much. Thir­teen miles on the north cir­cu­lar, a trip up the Dis­trict Line.

But for Brighton de­fender Liam Rose­nior, it was a jour­ney that took buck­ets of sweat, sleep­less nights and ev­ery inch of willpower.

Back in the sum­mer of 2010, the full-back had just been ditched by Read­ing. His agent had gone quiet. His tele­phone too. As the weeks trun­dled by and old mates re­turned to pre-sea­son, a nag­ging sense of doubt be­came out­right des­per­a­tion.

“It was the hard­est pe­riod of my pro­fes­sional life by a long way,” says Rose­nior, now 31. “I’d played in the Premier League, in the Cham­pi­onship. You’re think­ing ‘Surely some­body could use me’. But then… noth­ing. I re­alised that I had to do some­thing for my­self.”

For many, that would be a trip to Dubai or a Caribbean is­land. For Rose­nior, it meant a makeshift – and very public – train­ing camp in the leafy cor­ner of SW19 made fa­mous by the Wombles.

Guid­ance

“I trained on Wim­ble­don Com­mon,” laughs Rose­nior, who fi­nally got his re­ward when Nigel Pear­son and Hull came call­ing in late Oc­to­ber.“I set up my own cones, did my own drills. I was out there run­ning for hours.

“The thing is, I al­ways had faith in my abil­ity. I had to, or I’d never have been able to go out on my own ev­ery day. I was train­ing harder than I would have done even if I’d been do­ing pre­sea­son at a club.

“I re­mem­ber when I first went to Hull, I played a trial game on a Tues­day. That was my first match in six months and I’d done maybe three proper train­ing ses­sions.

“I came through that, then got chucked straight into the first team on the Satur­day. But be­cause I had trained so hard on my own, my fit­ness wasn’t an is­sue.

“Four years later I’d been pro­moted back to the Premier League, played in an FA Cup fi­nal at Wem­b­ley and got to Europe. It was nice to prove a few peo­ple wrong.”

Rose­nior, though, is bright enough to re­alise that play­ers don’t end up on the scrapheap by ac­ci­dent.

Hav­ing come through the ranks at Bristol City, he joined Premier League Ful­ham as a teenager and – de­spite the guid­ance of dad Leroy– fell into a fa­mil­iar trap.

“I didn’t re­alise it then, but I’d been very for­tu­nate,” he ex­plains. “I was a young guy of 20-21, play­ing regularly in the Premier League for Ful­ham.

“And, look­ing back, I got com­pla­cent. I took my eye off the ball, think­ing I’d made it. I didn’t do as much as I could to im­prove, I didn’t work on my weak­nesses.

“I didn’t have a bad at­ti­tude or any­thing like that. I wasn’t go­ing out ev­ery night. It was a lot more sub­tle – maybe I just dropped from 100 per cent in­ten­sity to 99. And at that level – un­less you’re Messi or Ron­aldo – that’s not enough.

“I ended up with­out a club at the age of 26 and was prob­a­bly lucky to get back into the game. It was a painful time for me, but the lessons have been learned.”

Com­pla­cent

Sadly, not by Hull. Pro­moted to the top flight un­der Steve Bruce in 2013, a solid first sea­son was fol­lowed by the dreaded sopho­more slump.

Big sign­ings like Abel Her­nan­dez failed to fire, oth­ers – like Robert Sn­od­grass – fell vic­tim to long-term in­jury. The Tigers won just eight matches and were even­tu­ally rel­e­gated from the top-flight with an 18th-place fin­ish.

“That’s what can hap­pen if you get com­pla­cent,” says Rose­nior, who was re­leased in May and sub­se­quently joined Brighton.

“And I do think that hap­pened to an ex­tent at Hull.We stayed up, got to the Cup fi­nal, then bought a load of new play­ers. But just spend­ing money

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

BIG BREAK: Ful­ham snapped up Rose­nior at 19 GREENER GRASS: Liam Rose­nior is happy with his move to Brighton & Hove Al­bion af­ter be­ing re­leased by Hull City BIG STAGE: Rose­nior started for Hull in the FA Cup Fi­nal

GOOD MAN: Chris Hughton gets play­ers “on side” MEN­TOR: The full­back will of­fer ad­vice to young­sters like Rohan Ince

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