Nottingham Forest centre-back Michael Mancienne says he could have “rotted away” had he remained at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea.
The now 29-year-old will return to Stamford Bridge tonight to face his former club when Forest faces the reigning League champions in the League cup, now Carabao Cup. And he says he took the tough decision to leave West London six years ago to make a name for himself.
The defender joined Chelsea at just age nine but played just a handful of matches for the club. Mancienne had loan spells away at QPR and Wolves before deciding to join Germany side SV Hamburg back in 2011 in search of regular playing time.
He moved to the City Ground three years after and is now relishing the prospect facing the Blues for the very first time since his exit.
Mancienne told The Telegraph that he was in his comfort zone at Chelsea and it is easy for players to rot away in such an environment.
He confirmed that the likes of John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley and Joe Cole were the best role models to have, and seeing John Terry break into the first team from the youth setup obviously gave him hope and desire to do the same.
The defender has certainly played a lot of games at Forest, having featured in more than 100 matches for the Reds.
Mancienne reportedly took a pay cut when he signed a new deal in the summer, and feels the club is now on the up.