Former St George's College schoolboy football star Alex Marshall admits it was difficult adjusting mentally to professional football overseas, as he argued that he was not prepared for what greeted him, when he left for Canadian club Halifax Wanderers in 2020.
The attacker also advised young players coming out of high-school football to get educated on the requirements and demands of professional football outside of Jamaica before they venture down that path.
"It was mainly a mental problem going into Canada," Marshall said at Wednesday's Jamaica Premier League (JPL) press conference at the Jamaica Football Federation's (JFF) headquarters in New Kingston.
"Mentally, I don't think I was prepared for it. I went there, and things didn't go as planned. I kept my head down, and I wasn't the player I was. I wasn't enjoying my game. So now that I am back home, I will be working on the mental part of my game, and hopefully, it will add to my abilities."
"After Manning Cup, I started out at Super League before we got promoted to the Premier League. If this is where you should start, you have to take it seriously. You can't be like a normal person. You have to be thinking about taking it to the next level.
"So young players leaving from school football should be open to asking more questions, so they can find out what's it's like [to play football] outside Jamaica," Marshall said.
Since returning to Portmore United, the former Cavalier forward, as well as other returning players from overseas who failed to notch long-term professional deals, have been facing criticism for their inability to secure their professional future. Marshall insists he does not pay attention to the comments, or allow them to influence him mentally.
"It has been the case for a few years now, but I have learnt to handle that. People will always talk about you whether you are doing good or bad. So I don't pay attention to it. Sometimes I do read them (comments), and people will send them to me, but I have learnt not to focus on that," he continued.
He noted that he also has a coach, Phillip Williams, who believes in him and gives him the playing time to go out and show his qualities.
"He keeps me out there because he knows that in any little moment, I can produce something to help the team. I think that is really helping my game, getting more game time and getting back my confidence, and getting to that place where I am enjoying my game.
"Hopefully, we will be in the play-offs come June. That is my aim, to help the team get into the play-offs and, hopefully, the final. I think the licence I get to play my football and not restricting myself to a passing game has helped.
"It's knowing when to dribble and when to use your teammates. That is something that I am working on, but I am really happy to have a coach that is giving me game time and believing in me. In football, everyone has their time, so I guess this is my time to rebuild and come again," Marshall said.