Three years ago, Dele Alli was playing for third tier club MK Dons. Now, he is preparing for a World Cup semi-final in Moscow with England.
Dele Alli still has to sometimes pinch himself when he considers the strides he has made from League One to a World Cup semi-final with England.
Three years ago, the attacking midfielder had just signed off on his time with third-tier MK Dons, having re-joined on loan for the second half of 2014-15 as part of his permanent switch to Tottenham.
Now a fully-fledged member of Spurs' starting XI, the 22-year-old has become a key figure for club and country, underlining his importance with a back-post header to round off England's 2-0 quarter-final win over Sweden in Samara and set up a last-four meeting with Croatia in Moscow.
That goal was a timely one for both the collective and the individual, who had seen his place come under question from some quarters earlier in the tournament.
Alli always retained faith in his ability, but admits his rise from the lower leagues to the grandest stage is occasionally hard to comprehend.
"Yes, as a player you want to score goals," he told reporters. "As an attacking player, you do get frustrated but I knew it would come.
"I knew I would get a chance. When it comes, it was important that I took it.
"There are times when I think about how far I have come. I think 'is it real?'
"At the same time, I think every decision I have made, everything I have done until now shows I have been working for it. Every day I have been working to improve so I feel like it should be like this so I hope I can go further.
"I think it is important to want to achieve a lot more. I think that is a great thing to be hungry, it is a hungry squad. You want to achieve and keep improving together.
"We are not the finished article but we are in the semi-finals of the World Cup and we are excited.
"It feels really good. It gives you the shivers when you think about it. I think we owe them [the fans] a lot of thanks for the way they are supporting us. We have seen the reaction to the squad and it has been unbelievable and we hopefully have many more great memories to come."