For the first time in his 17-year professional career, England international goalkeeper Joe Hart has no club.
Released by Burnley this summer, Hart is convinced he will find his perfect footballing match – and that he still has lots to offer.
Hart, 33, spoke exclusively to BBC Sport about his past, his future career and the importance of talking about mental health.
It is just over four years since Hart played for Manchester City in their Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid. It is less than three since he won the last of his 75 England caps.
He has most recently been Burnley’s reserve goalkeeper, and will be released when his contract expires on 30 June. He is not feeling sorry for himself.
The fact I have had to sit on the bench for 18 months in the Premier League is not going to define or crush me.
I remember who I am. I remember playing for my local Sunday league team and trying to get into the Shrewsbury Town first team. I learned early – you need to keep things in perspective.
You can have great things said about you in football, but you have to be strong on self-criticism, analyse what you are doing and be comfortable with it.
Maybe from the outside, people are thinking it is a time for panic, but from the inside it is a time to look forward and see all the opportunities.
I am young when it comes to goalkeeping. I am even younger when it comes to the mental age of a guy who just wants to go in goal and have people whack balls at him.
I am under no illusions that Real Madrid are going to knock my door down, get [Thibaut] Courtois out and bring me in. But there is plenty more to come from me.
I just need someone to believe in me and I will repay that faith.
In May, Hart featured in the BBC documentary ‘Football, Prince William and Our Mental Health’. Hart started working with performance coach Jamie Edwards in 2013 after he briefly lost his Manchester City place, to help deal with the mental side of the game.
There are two sides to mental health. There are the deep, dark depths or, as we talk about, the early steps of going the wrong way.
There is also the really positive side, being able to turn a situation on its head, see the positive side of a cup half full.
You can look at me from the outside, look at the position I am in and the heights I have been at and think things are not going great but that is not the case.
I feel good. I turn up for the games expecting to play, even when I am not on the sheet, because it is a positive mental attitude. It is something I have worked on for years.
I want to pass it on. If I meet a bunch of under-12s, I would be asking me about when I saved a Messi penalty or what it’s like playing for England. All they care about now is how do you deal with a mistake? How do deal with someone taunting you from behind the goal?
That is not what your mindset should be as a kid. That’s why I got involved in it and that is why I talked about it.
Hart was one of six key players who helped transform Manchester City. Pablo Zabaleta, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany have already left to huge acclaim. David Silva goes this summer, leaving Sergio Aguero is the only survivor. Hart left quietly in 2018.
Every single Manchester City fan or fan in Manchester, people I see on a daily basis, treats me with the greatest respect I could ever dream of.
I didn’t get a testimonial and a great send-off, but there is no better feeling than the way I am treated by the people who matter, the fans, the people at the club, the people who have been there since I was there.
The guys who have been part of the journey all know what we were part of. I don’t need anything else to feel appreciated.
That club is always going to be part of me.
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