Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick says joining West Ham was crucial in his career development.
Speaking to the Manchester United official website, the England international said that leaving the North East of England as a teenager and in the process moving out of his comfort zone helped him mature and grow into the player he is today.
The 33-year-old said: "Moving to London at 15 was a struggle, but the best thing I ever did.
"The first three or four months were tough. The football was great, but when you were going back [to where you were staying] you didn't have someone there. You didn't have a mobile phone back then, it was a case of going to the phone box.
"Things like that now you take for granted but then it was a big deal. But it helped me grow. It shaped me a lot faster than if I'd stayed in Newcastle and been pampered. I was almost fast-tracked into thinking, 'This is how the big world is and you've got to grow up fast'."
Carrick also is claimed to have had trials with up to 15 clubs ahead of signing with West Ham, and while he may have gone onto make it elsewhere, clearly his decision paid off.
He played more than 150 games for the Hammers before signing with Tottenham Hotspur, who were able to hold onto him for only two seasons.
A move to Manchester United was sealed in 2006 and he repaid them by helping the Red Devils win the title that year, the first time they had done so since 2002/03.
He has gone onto become a five-time Premier League winner, and also a Champions League winner in 2008.