Naively, I think I always assumed that Ryan Bertrand would be one of those eminently likable Paul Ferreira-esque, Hilario-esque guys who stick around a football club, unassumingly, for a long time as utility players, ready to do a job whenever called upon, but whether through injury or circumstance or ability, never quite entrenching themselves as first-choice players. But perhaps I was reading too much into my own Football Manager saves, for in real life, players can have defined, strong ambitions and a clear sense of the progress they'd like to see in their careers, as Ryan Bertrand reiterates in a recent interview with The Guardian.
"I always stayed at Chelsea as long as I could see progression and if you look, [since 2010-11] it went from one appearance to 15 to 38. As long as I could see that progression, and felt it, I was content. Last summer I had some chances to leave, to go to decent clubs, but I was under the impression that I didn't need to pursue them, so we didn't. Little did I know that I would have to go somewhere in January, so it hit me."
"No matter how much I love the club, and obviously I've been there for so long, I wasn't just there because it was Chelsea. I was there for reasons that I'd earned with hard work over the years. I really wanted to get back to playing football - knowing if you're training hard and doing well, you're going to play."
For a moment there early last season, it appeared that Bertrand had finally displaced Ashley Cole, only to see his designs on the starting job wrecked by Cesar Azpilicueta coming out of left field. Or right back, if you will.
Officially, Bertrand's just on loan at Southampton right now, but just like his time at Aston Villa in the second half of last season, his main concern is no longer to impress Chelsea, it's to find himself a full-time, starting left back job. He's off to a good start in that respect, having featured in all 180 minutes of the Saints' Premier League season so far.
"I'm not going out on a Saturday thinking: ‘I've got to do well because I want to get back to Chelsea', which is how it was previously whenever you went on loan. Now, I'm just playing my game and seeing where that takes me."
Although it did not quite work out for the now 25-year-old at Chelsea, Bertrand has no regrets.
"I take extreme satisfaction from what I've done and I know I've given it everything. There isn't one regret."
The left back and occasional left midfielder goes on to reminisce about that night in Munich, but he's got his sights firmly set on the future. He may never ever achieve such great heights again, but he's not ready to rest on his laurels just yet.
"I want that [success] again. But if it did happen, I don't think it would feel like that game [...] it was a crazy script."
"I'll never play that night down but, at the same time, I'll never rest on it. I always think about winning more.
"[But for the moment,] I'm happy. I'm in a place where I am getting a chance to play my football, the way I like to play it and in a club striving to go forward at the same pace as me."
Bertrand will be back in London today as Southampton take on West Ham at Upton Park. Best of luck to him and the rest of the Saints.