Faithful Chelsea fans will remember defender Michael Mancienne, who now features as an important part of the Nottingham Forest side having left Stamford Bridge for new challenges in 2011.
Six years on, Mancienne, who made just four league appearances for the Blues, now faces his old club on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup third round at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking out before the cup tie, the 29-year-old English defender said he has enjoyed the fresh challenges in his career since leaving the club.
“I was in the comfort zone at Chelsea and it is easy for players to rot away in that environment,” he told the press from Forest’s City Ground.
He went on to say that he needed to play his football elsewhere, having struggled to break into the first team amongst role models John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, and that he wanted to make a name for himself.
Successful loan spells at QPR and then Wolves, which included promotion from the Championship under Mick McCarthy, paved the way for a move to Hamburg in Germany.
He feels his decision continues to be ‘vindicated’, especially after returning to England with Forest to become a stabilising influence during turbulent times at the club.
Wednesday evening’s clash in west London is Chelsea’s first appearance in the League Cup this season and Mancienne looks forward to keeping Forest secure once again after dumping Premier League outfit Newcastle out of the tournament in the second round.
The Blues prepare to make large-scale changes from the lineup that held Arsenal to a 0-0 draw on Sunday and Forest will be looking to make an impact against Conte’s potentially inexperienced starting eleven.
It will not be an easy ride for the ex-Blues defender to showcase his talent with Eden Hazard expected to make his first start of the season alongside Pedro.