David Cotterill knows more than most that there are no guarantees in football.
Just because you are snapped up by a Premier League club for a multi-million pound fee as a teenager does not mean you are guaranteed a permanent stay at the top level for club and country.
Nor does becoming English football’s leading assists maker one season guarantee regular starts the next.
The winger is barely half way through his senior career at 25 but he has already been through the wringer.
More than a few will have already condemned Cotterill into the book of ‘whatever happened to him’ when he joined Rovers last summer.
But he flourished in League One under Dean Saunders, having an involvement in almost half of Rovers’ league goals as they secured promotion and the title.
However, the return to the Championship has not been a particularly happy on for the Welshman, who has found himself on the fringes of the Rovers side after poor form.
And he admits he has struggled with the lack of a guaranteed starting berth since Paul Dickov’s arrival.
“Last year with the management staff that was here I was always guaranteed a place which helped me as an individual because I prefer that,” Cotterill said. “This year that’s not the case.
“Different players have been brought in and they’re fighting for places as well.
“If you don’t have a good game then you’ll get taken out and that’s fair enough.
“It’s been a little bit of a frustrating time for me with not playing as regularly as I would like.
“I started against Brighton, thought I did all right but then got taken out for whatever reason.
“Decisions are made to benefit the team and the team is the most important thing.
“Hopefully If I keep my head down and work hard then I’ll get back in the team and stay there.”
Cotterill could have been forgiven for thinking he would never again pull on a Wales kit after his superb form last season - particularly the first half - went unnoticed.
But in a strange twist, despite his recent struggles at club level, he saw a two and a half year wait for a 20th Wales cap end this week after coming off the bench in the 1-1 draw with Finland.
He said: “It’s been a long wait for me. It was pleasing to see the hard work that I put in last year and the beginning of this year has paid off.
“It’s the best achievement playing for your country.”
For Cotterill both his club and international future remains somewhat clouded but he insists he is committed to the hard work required to get back on the bright side.
He also believes statistics would suggest his form for Rovers so far this term has not been as bad as suggested.
He said: “If I’ve not played that well as people have said, I’ve still got four assists despite not playing as much.
“I’d like a few more goals but I’m sure they’ll come with more games.”