Liam Nash could have been performing in front of two million people this summer.
The fresh-faced 21-year-old was selected for a place on the popular ITV2 show Love Island.
He applied for the chance to star on the reality television programme six months ago, unaware just how quickly his football career was about to take off.
A blistering season at Maldon & Tiptree led to scouts, including those from Gillingham, watching him every weekend. With 37 goals, he quickly became a man in demand.
Head coach Ady Pennock won the race for his signature, a relief for those Gills fans who were keen for the club to take a punt on a non-league hot-shot and no doubt a relief for his new girlfriend.
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Choosing football over fame was an easy decision for Nash.
He said: “It has all happened so quickly. Three weeks ago I was working on a building site. It’s like ‘wow’. I just can’t wait to get started, get grafting and hopefully make a name for myself in League 1.
“Football comes first for me. If I had gone there (on Love Island) I wouldn’t have had this chance, definitely not. If you are chasing your dream, which I was, I had to put my faith 100% in football.”
Nash certainly wouldn’t have been a quiet contestant.
He said: “I would have ruffled some feathers, definitely.”
He isn’t short of confidence. When former club Billericay sent him out on loan to Aveley, he took over as captain, aged just 20.
“That helped my career massively,” said the qualified painter and all-round handy-man. “It helped my confidence.”
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Billericay signed the striker from Essex Senior League side Hullbridge Sports – Nash’s home team. But despite the potential, he was sent out on loan again, to Great Wakering Rovers.
A move to Ryman South side Maldon & Triptree – managed by former Manchester City player Kevin Horlock – followed and a promotion battle last season would eventually lead them to meeting Mark Stimson’s Thurrock in the play-off final.
Nash was the main man, scoring a 20-minute hat-trick in one game. He believes Horlock was key to his progression.
“I was playing for him as well as myself and the team,” he said.
Maldon missed out on promotion, with former Gills boss Stimson leading Thurrock to a 1-0 win.
Nash might not have finished the season with a medal but interest in him was red-hot. Doncaster handed him a three-day trial. That went well but the club were embroiled in what turned out to be a successful promotion battle in League 2.
Pennock was quick to make a move for Nash, as Doncaster hesitated, offering him a trial and signing him on a two-year deal.
It’s now over to Nash to show what he can do.
He said: “I can’t wait to get started. I want to prove that I am capable of doing it in this league. To get that first league goal will be a feeling I won’t ever forget. Hopefully, it will be at Doncaster (on the opening day).”
Read more from Liam Nash in Thursday's Medway Messenger newspaper.