He graduated from the school of hard knocks as a youngster at AFC Wimbledon, coming up against the likes of Boreham Wood and Heybridge Swifts and enjoying the physical challenges that life in the Isthmian League brings.
But Chris Hussey, the Sheffield United full-back, admits he could be set for his biggest test so far; breaking into a Blades side with competition for places more fierce than he’s ever known.
“I’ve never been a squad like it before,” the former Bury man admitted.
“Competition for places here is really good; it’s good for the team, obviously, and it’s good for the individual players as well, because it keeps everybody on their toes.”
Hussey was recalled for Sunday’s FA Cup second-round tie at Bolton, making his first start in exactly two months as United tumbled out after a 3-2 defeat.
Northern Ireland international Daniel Lafferty has established himself as United’s first-choice left wing-back in Chris Wilder’s favoured 3-5-2 formation, and Hussey added: “It felt good to be back out there again. It’s been a while but I can’t have any complaints.
“Daniel has been flying and the team has been winning. If you are doing that and results are going well then you expect to stay in.
“It’s up to me to work hard, keep my head down and try to get back in and stay there.
“But, like I say, I can’t have any complaints because I’d want the same thing if it was me.”
Of the wing-back formation, Hussey said: “I think the system, the way we are playing and setting up now, should suit me. I like to get forward and help out up there too.
“My final ball could have been better at Bolton, though, and I was a culprit too out there.”
Alan Knill, the United assistant, thought his side did enough to get something out of the game at Bolton.
“But what happens in both boxes is what counts,” Knill added.
“We didn’t take our chances and that’s why we lost. We don’t want to be tagged ‘best team lost’ because that, in our eyes, is what we were.
“We have to be better. We create, we passed it well, we moved it around great and we created but you’ve got to take chances and keep it out of your goal.
“We didn’t do that well enough. Ultimately it’s what happens in both boxes, not the middle, that counts.”