Southampton captain Adam Lallana believes the club's rise through the lower divisions has proved beneficial for his career.
Lallana is on the shortlist for the PFA Player of the Year after another outstanding season with Southampton that has him on the brink of selection for England's FIFA World Cup squad.
The 25-year-old's rise as one of England's best midfielders has been years in the making after working his way through Southampton's youth academy.
While the likes of Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain departed, Lallana decided to stay put, helping Southampton to back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League and he would not have it any other way.
"It has been a gradual process, and I think I have benefitted from the route I have taken," Lallana said.
"I have played on cold, wet nights at the end of the earth in midweek, and it is character-building stuff, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
"It's all part of the learning process, but if there are people who are trying to whack you and mash you off the ball, it probably means you are doing something right.
"The same applies in the Premier League - if you get too cocky, you will get hit up in the air.
"It teaches you not to get ahead of yourself, not to take anything for granted. I had a great time getting promoted twice in two years, but I never forget how special it is to be playing in the Premier League."
Lallana has made over 260 appearances for Southampton since debuting for the club back in 2006.comments