BYRON Webster revealed a spell in the Czech Republic “kick-started” his career – and advised young players to consider moving abroad if they are struggling in England.
Webster started his career at York City and had a spell at Harrogate Town before he lost interest in the game.
But after a chance call from an agent to his dad, Webster decided to give it another go and moved to the Czech Republic as a 20-year-old to join FK Baník Most.
Webster spent two seasons there, and "fell back in love" with football.
He explained: "I fell out with a manager in England, got the opportunity to go over there and really enjoyed it. There was no risk. I wasn’t interested in football, wasn’t enjoying my football. I thought I’d enjoy it and I fell back in love with the game. I was playing regularly, training with no pressure.
"I was young, you learn a lot about yourself off the pitch, new life skills, as well as a new style on the pitch.
"I’d say if there was a youngster not doing well in England to take the chance to go abroad.
“It kick-started my career again.
"The main pressure is the one youngsters put on themselves. I didn’t know if anyone was hammering me because I didn’t know what they were saying! It was chilled.
"I wanted to get back to England. Out there the days were very long, there are only so many TV series and so much shopping you can do."
Webster arrived at Millwall via Doncaster, Northampton and Yeovil, but his first season with the Lions didn’t go to plan and he found himself back on loan at the Glovers as his parent club struggled and then failed to beat the drop in 2014-15.
It wasn’t until November last year, after Tony Craig suffered a long-term knee injury, that he became a first-team regular.
Webster, 30, has played 54 times this season and will be in the Millwall side against Bradford in the League One play-off final this Saturday, aiming for his second promotion to the Championship after Yeovil’s win over Brentford at Wembley in 2013.
“There’s no getting away from it, it’s massive,” he said. “We want to play in the Championship.
“It benefits us, it benefits the club, and I’m sure the fans would prefer to be playing against the likes of Leeds and Sunderland. That’s the pressure we put on ourselves. And it’s mainly from ourselves, the manager is top drawer, he doesn’t put any pressure on us.”
It would also be a second promotion from League One for Craig, Steve Morison and Jimmy Abdou.
Craig is often one of the players most criticised by Millwall fans when results aren't going their way, but Webster believes a number of the squad have answered their critics this season.
“I think a lot of us have,” Webster said. “There have been a lot of ups and downs. The highs have been really good, you look at the FA Cup run and the unbeaten run we went on.
“With our fans, they’re very passionate and vocal. If you’re doing well they’re there to support you, if you’re not doing well they’ll tell you.
“No one means to go out there and put a bad performance in. You guys at work will have bad days, it’s just fortunate for you you won’t have 12,000 people calling you every name under the sun. We do.
“TC has had tough times but came good. There have been a number of players who have done well this year.”
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