Lincoln City player Tom Hopper has gone from a career crossroads after national outrage, to lining up against the World Champions in just five years.
The 26-year-old forward was at the heart of a national scandal in 2015, when a filmed sex orgy involving him and Leicester City teammates Adam Smith and James Pearson with Thai prostitutes was leaked online.
It resulted in all three players being sent home from the end-of-season tour in Thailand, and being sacked by the football club.
Tom had to start his career all over again, eventually being given a chance at Scunthorpe United before moving on to Southend and now the Imps as of January 2020.
Fast forward five years, and Hopper is preparing for the biggest game of his life against Premier League Champions Liverpool in the Carabao Cup on Thursday.
In an interview with The Sun, he said: “I had to grow up quickly. It was my first realisation of life and that your career can change for the worst in an instant.
“I’m not going to kid anyone by saying it was easy to cope with the fallout of what happened.
“It definitely took time for me to get going again. It was a case of keeping a low profile, being humble and focusing on football.
“The whole thing gave me a real perspective in life and I’ve matured as a result.”
His maturity was highlighted during coronavirus lockdown, when he was involved with Lincoln City in making phone calls to vulnerable members of the community.
Hopper also discussed his excitement for facing Liverpool, saying: “Everything that comes with playing Liverpool is amazing.
“It’s a chance you don’t get too often in your career and it’s great to just soak it in.”
You can watch Lincoln City’s game with Liverpool on Sky Sports on Thursday, September 24, kicking off at 7:45pm.