NIKKI Ahamed spent 11 years of his life at Chelsea.
But now the Wealdstone new boy says his career in the game depends on him forgetting he ever set eyes on life at Stamford Bridge.
Now 19, the student of forensics, who once dreamt of Champions League glory, is plotting his way back via cameo performances from the bench, the latest in Saturday’s 1-0 win at struggling Aveley.
Ahamed says whether he succeeds or fails this time rests on blotting out his time at Chelsea like it never existed or the disappointment will crush him.
He said: "You must think you were never at Chelsea and you’ve never tasted it - so you can be hungry again.
"Sometimes when you have tasted it you can take your foot off the pedal and think ‘I don’t want it anymore,’ but if you think you were never at Chelsea you can work your way up.
"You have to block all that out and think this is the beginning, a fresh start."
Ahamed thought about starting again in Spain and briefly travelled to the continent, before returning to what he calls ‘the best football in the world’ in England.
He admits starting again will be difficult and his studies betray the thought he might not make it back to the top again.
He said: "It’s going to be hard because at 19 there are distractions which weren’t there at seven.
"I’m now studying at the same time because even though football is my first love, I’m at the age where you have to think about the possibility of other things."
Ahamed can take comfort from role models like Alex Dyer and Kurtney Brooks who have adjusted to life at non-league level and are producing the eye-catching performances which may take them back to the professional ranks.
But for now the teenager’s targets are more modest.
He added: "The aim for the rest of the season is to get a regular place in the Wealdstone starting XI.
"If I get my fitness up I feel fairly confident I can push for the starting line-up and hopefully be here to get a good start to pre-season next season."