Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I've Made My Point

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

I've Made My Point

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

In the 10 years since being told he had no future in football, Liam Lawrence has proved his doubters wrong. Paul Gilder met a player relishing his first taste of the top flight.

Rejection was a crushing blow for the young Liam Lawrence. His formative years spent dreaming of pulling on the shirt of a club with a proud footballing heritage, the ambitious East Midlander was 14 when he was told that he would not make the grade. One more wannabe superstar had fallen by the wayside.

Or so it seemed, as the inconsolable teenager closed the door of the City Ground behind him for the final time and embarked on the journey home with the shattering assessment of Nottingham Forest's coaching staff still ringing in his ears.

That Mansfield offered Lawrence a less-salubrious launching pad for his career offered little short-term consolation for a player who had assumed he would eventually graduate to wear the famous red jersey of the Premiership club he had joined as a nine-year-old, the prospect of failure having never entered his mind.

The burning sense of injustice which has left a lasting impression during the intervening years will be vindicated this season. "I was really devastated at the time," recalled a player preparing to embark on his maiden campaign in top-flight football.

Forest ( the club who deemed Lawrence insufficiently skilled to continue representing them ( will play in the English game's third tier in 2005-06.

"I had some doubts about whether I would ever make it when Forest let me go, anyone would have done," he said. "It would have destroyed some players and caused them to pack it in. But not me."

That Lawrence has supreme confidence in his abilities these days is clear. That it seems he has long held himself in high regard holds the key to his belated arrival on the game's main stage. …

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