Be willing to make sacrifices
Sacrifices are important, it's probably something I should have looked at more in the early days of my career. You've got to recognise that football's very important and if you don't make those sacrifices and you make the wrong choices in your early days, there are going to be other players overtaking you. If you're going out partying, not getting enough sleep or eating McDonald's instead of the right meal, there are other people out there making the right choices who are gaining steps ahead of you. I've had to be better at that. Every training session is important. If it's your cousin's communion that day then some coaches do give you allowances, you get that in any job. But it's about making the right decisions at the right time.
Play for the love of the game
When I'm out on that field I'm like a little kid again. It doesn't matter whether it's a training session, a little kick around or I'm doing an extra session on my own. I'll put absolutely everything into it and whenever we're playing five-a-side at the training ground, I want to win that game. If I don't win it I've got a cob on, if I do win it's like I've won the World Cup. That's the type of player I am. I think if you look at the best players in the world in the men's game, they're like that. You see Luis Suarez go on to the pitch, when he gets the ball he's like a kid again, the same with Diego Costa. They just love the game.
Be a team player
There are a lot of individuals who get a lot of plaudits but the first thing you'll hear them say is about their team-mates. Look at Lionel Messi. He's the best footballer I've ever seen but without Andres Iniesta, without Xavi, without all those assists, he would be half the player he is. It must be difficult for kids when they go on trials, you want to be that stand-out player. But coaches and scouts are also looking to see if you can be a part of a team, if you can help others if they're not having a good trial. You can't just think, 'I'm the one who's going to score this goal'. Can you help the people around them and drive them on as well?
Make your own luck
You do need a little bit of luck in your career, there is a lot of talent out there and you need to be spotted, the scouts have to be there. That's why you've got to be on your game all the time because how do you know if there's a scout there? If you knew there was a scout there, you wouldn't be focused. You shouldn't recognise that there are people watching you at the side of the pitch. Every single game you have to give your all and then that's where you get your bit of luck because that one time you score the hat-trick or make that goal-line clearance, that's when the scout is there, they pick up your name and you can get your breakthrough. I also remember when I got my chance at Everton. At 15 maybe I should have been starting but the manager made me earn my place, which was probably key for me. I grafted for another year, I wanted to be in the first team and then, unfortunately for the girl ahead of me, she got injured. That was my breakthrough and the coaches said, 'This is your chance'.
Toni Duggan wears the Manchester City FC training apparel available now on www.nike.com
For more football tips see:
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1