Vincent Janssen has admitted that he almost quit professional football before finally breaking through at AZ.
Janssen became Tottenham’s most expensive signing of the summer when he joined for £17m earlier this month.
The 22-year-old spent only one year in the Eredivisie before moving to the Premier League, having struggled to establish himself in the Netherlands.
Janssen was released from his youth contract with Feyenoord in 2013, before joining lower league Almere City.
He impressed sufficiently to earn his move to AZ two years later, but has admitted that he almost quit the sport.
“I had to make a decision: am I going to go for the football or make another choice,” Janssen told ESPN.
“When you play in the Dutch second division, it’s not like you can live off that for your whole life. I said to myself: ‘I’m going to invest, I’m going to try it one more time.’ And I got a really good club, a really good coach and pushed myself.
“It’s gone crazily fast. It’s happened. I always trusted myself. I said to myself: ‘Ok, I’m going for it now and I’m going to do everything for it and if it’s not going work, I can say I did everything for it.’ It was going very well at Almere City, so I could make a big step in two years.
“I liked football too much to quit it, but at that moment it was now or never. And if it wasn’t going to be what I wanted, I had to make a choice. I said to myself: “One time more I’m going to give everything for it”, and you can see what can happen.
“My feeling at Feyenoord was not that good. I never felt really comfortable. Feyenoord made a choice at that moment and I made a choice to go on. Sometimes, it not always going how you want it to go is helpful.
“I was not feeling comfortable there, so I had to fight for myself. That’s what I learned there. Sometimes when it doesn’t go well, you have to fight. So that’s what I did.
“The past has happened and you have to look to the future. You have to go on, and that’s what I’m telling myself every game. To play a good game every game, you have to stay there again. I don’t look back on history. I want to look forward to the future.”