Darron Gibson faced uncertainty in his football upbringing and, in different circumstances, he could have ended up as a Northern Ireland international playing for Leicester.
Right now, though, he’s very happy with his lot after a whirlwind couple of months, where his first full start for the Republic has quickly been followed by his Premier League debut with Manchester United.
The Derry native is now hoping that he can use the experience gained from Irish duty to further his cause at club level and vice versa. He may be just 21 years of age, but he believes that it is time for his career to push on.
"My profile with Ireland has done me good," said Gibson, who made his Premier League bow as a substitute against Stoke last weekend in front of the watching Giovanni Trapattoni.
"When I got the chance with Ireland against Cyprus, then I seemed to get my chance at Old Trafford.
"The manager (Alex Ferguson) watched the Cyprus game on TV — I think he was flicking through the channels. He told me the next day that he watched it. He thought that I did well and if I am playing at international level then it puts me in his mind, that I can do a job for him if I am needed."
Gibson has had to be patient for his chance at Old Trafford to arrive, and is determined to build on the experience of the past week, where he played 90 minutes in the Carling Cup against QPR before his Stoke outing.
Ironically enough, as a teenager he almost turned his back on Manchester United before they convinced him to come over and play a trial game on his 15th birthday.
"They were the first club I said no to," said Gibson. "They asked me to come across and I said no as I was a fed up of going here, there and everywhere.
"At the time there were agents phoning the house all the time and my mum and dad were getting fed up. I was at Newcastle, Sunderland, Blackburn, Leicester, Leeds, Carlisle and Manchester City.
"I was getting a bit fed up as well, so I decided then that I would go to either Leicester or Sunderland. One of the scouts said, ’come over for a game on your birthday’. So I went over and signed."
Since then, there has been no looking back.