Adam Morgan's dream came true when he played for Liverpool's first-team, now he's readjusted his ambitions, as he just wants to be a professional footballer once again.
The talented Morgan was taken on the pre-season tour of North America in 2012 aged 18, scoring on the trip, enough to ensure he was kept in the squad for the competitive games that followed, a dream come true for the Liverpudlian.
Three first-team games followed for the former England youth international, including partnering Luis Suarez upfront in a Europa League game against Hearts, as everything fell into place for the likeable local boy done good.
“I went on pre-season tour and I really enjoyed it, scored a goal and I thought I’d done well but with the firepower in the team, I didn’t think my time was coming. I’d done well and maybe got into the manager’s eye, but as we were getting off at the airport, the liaison officer asked for my passport back and he had to explain I was travelling with the squad to the Europa League game, which was a shock to me. I was buzzing - it came out of the blue.”
The striker was praised by his hero, Robbie Fowler, who coached him and appreciated his natural prowess in front of goal. Praise from one of the best finishers the Premier League has ever seen is not something many receive, a fact Morgan appreciates.
“Robbie Fowler was my hero growing up and I’d always wanted to be like him. Not namedropping, but I now kind of know him and wanted to learn off him, as I wanted to be like him.
"As I got a bit older, seeing your idol every few weeks, as he used to come in to do some coaching, I took a lot from him and he must have seen something in me that he liked, so it probably made me focus even more, to do what I was doing. If he was liking what he saw, it made me happy as he was the one I wanted to be like.”
Being rated by his personal hero was not enough for him to kept on at Anfield, after loan moves to Rotherham and Yeovil, he was allowed to leave the club for nothing, joining the latter permanently.
The Glovers were in the Championship at the time and Morgan was hopeful he could prove his obvious talents at Huish Park, which would allow him to move back to the Premier League at the earliest opportunity.
Morgan only scored once in 18 league games for the club, coming off the bench in many of those, a factor that made settling into the side tricky. Issues behind the scenes meant he would not be given the opportunities he required to prove his worth on the pitch. He was then loaned to St Johnstone as a nomadic career began.
“Looking back, obviously it was a lot harder to adapt than I originally thought. When I went to Yeovil they were in the Championship, I didn’t step down three leagues or anything like that, as I had the ambition to step back up to the top league.
"Things don’t always happen the way you want them to or the way you expect them to. I was more than confident that I could have played week in, week out at Yeovil in the Championship, but for whatever reason – things went on behind the scenes – but that’s football and these things happen and you have to move on.”
A move to Accrington Stanley followed at the end of his spell with Yeovil, but he only played once for the club, as Morgan struggled to come to terms with League Two and the mental challenges of dropping down the leagues.
“When I went to Accrington I didn’t really play, but I enjoyed my time there, I liked the manager there, it’s just unfortunate that my head space wasn’t right when I was there.
“Only football things distracted me: from doing so well at Liverpool to not doing so well at Yeovil, and I’d jumped down the leagues quicker than what I should have. Accrington is a great club and so is Yeovil, but it didn’t work for me and I’d wanted it to so much that it played with my head.
"It was the definition of your head going; I wasn’t enjoying it, not because I didn’t like the clubs, just because I didn’t like the way I was performing or I wasn’t get the opportunities I wanted, but that’s down to me. My head went as I was finding it hard, so I had to step down, reassess and now I’m looking to go back and turn around my career.”
After brief spells maintaining fitness at Hemel Hempstead and Colwyn Bay, Morgan has found somewhere to shine at Curzon Ashton.
Sitting on the outskirts of Manchester, the club have an impressive new stadium, especially for the standards of the National League North, and it has made the ex-Liverpool man feel at home.
The club is semi-professional, but Morgan has never looked for a job outside of football as he believes he can make it once again in the professional game and is focused on that goal, wanting no distractions to get in his way.
“I’m doing well at the minute, as I’m happy, I’m enjoying playing football and I’m able to show my goalscoring talents.
"I’d only scored a few goals in the last few years, but I’d only made six starts, so it wasn’t too bad, but coming on for ten minutes at the end of the game is hard.
"I believe playing anywhere, with a run of games, I’d score goals and that’s what is hopefully going to happen now. I’ve just got to prove people wrong now and prove myself right as I’ve never stopped believing in my ability.”
Still only 22, Morgan has been given the spotlight to shine at the Tameside club, aided by the bonus of an FA Cup run, which will see them face AFC Wimbledon on Sunday lunchtime.
Morgan has scored five in his opening five games for the club, but knows his own impressive form will count for nothing if it’s not benefitting the team.
“Hemel Hempstead and Colwyn Bay play a different style of football to the way I play and the way I was brought up to play, but that’s what suits them.
"In the summer I came to watch Curzon – they play football, they want to do everything right and I’ve enjoyed it here so far and long may it continue.”
The Nash, as Curzon are known, head into the FA Cup clashing knowing the formidable form AFC Wimbledon are in, having beaten Bury 5-0 in the last round, but there’s no reason for the Tamesiders to fear facing their professional foes.
“Everyone at the club is excited about he FA Cup, but it’s just a bonus. The league form has improved over the last couple of weeks, and that’s the main thing.
"We’re confident going into the game with Wimbledon, but the league’s the most important thing at the moment.
“I think we’ve got to show them a lot of respect, as AFC Wimbledon are a great team, but we’ve got nothing to lose. They put ten goals in against Bury in two games, but it’s the FA Cup, so we’re going to go in full of confidence, have a smile of our face, we’re live on TV, so you can’t ask for much more. Whatever happens, happens, but we’re not going to go down without a fight.”
The cup will make a few people take notice that Morgan is making his way back in the game.
He wants to play as high as he can, but he knows the key to playing well and scoring goals is being happy on and off the pitch, something he hasn’t felt for a while, but with Curzon providing the stage he's been missing for so long, Morgan is ready to prove doubters wrong and his hero Fowler right.
“My short-term goal is to score goals for Curzon and whatever happens after that happens.
"I’ve always believed you don’t lose your talent over night, people don’t say nice things about you for no reason, it’s just about getting your consistency back, and I’m just hoping to take that into the game against AFC Wimbledon and showing a few people that I am back, ready and strong.”