SEVEN years ago it seemed that footballer George Green had the world at his feet.

The 15-year-old had just signed for Premier League giants Everton for an initial fee of £300,000 that could have risen as high as £2 million if he fulfilled the potential that many scouts believed he held. The teenager also received a £45,000 signing-on fee and a weekly wage of £2,000. Unsurprisingly for a normal lad from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, that's where the problems started.

"There were a lot of factors," sighs Green, who signed for Chester FC in the summer as he looks to rebuild a footballing career blighted by addiction and depression.

"Having money, having a car and just becoming an adult and being able to go out and do what you want. Being thrown into that alpha-male environment at such a young age was daunting. Some people take to it well and you see them mature - look at Ryan Sessegnon at Fulham - he's blossomed and matured from being around men, but for some people it's just not the right time which was certainly the case with me."

In recent months, Green has been incredibly open about the problems he has faced and hopefully now overcome in the years following his initial sporting success. He's spoken to the likes of the Guardian, the Daily Mail and Four Four Two magazine about his issues with drugs and alcohol and even revealed that he attempted to take his own life last year while playing for Salford City, whose former managers Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have now signed him for Chester whose fans he is keen to impress once he recovers from a back injury.

"I felt like I was destined for big things," says Green, who won England youth caps where he played alongside the likes of Ross Barkley and Dele Alli.

"They've flourished and I haven't unfortunately and although I don't hold a grudge it does annoy me because I should be in that class bracket and I'm not."

As his career stalled at Goodison Park and the temptations of adulthood became ever enticing, Green's life began to unravel at an alarming rate.

"I went into rehab aged 18 in North London," he says after missing training began to become another unwanted habit. "It was not really a place for an 18-year-old, but I took as much help as they threw at me. It was scary being there on my own, but I felt like I deserved it because I'd done what I'd done. Ultimately I wanted to be healthy and wanted to play football so I got the help I needed."

Green admits now that taking drugs played a part in his spiralling depression - a startling admission for a young sportsman on the verge of making the first team of a Premier League club.

"Drugs were the primary problem but in the last few years I've realised that it all stemmed from drinking," he says. "It wasn't like I was going out drinking gallons and gallons and relying on it to get up on a daily basis, but I'd drink and then the drugs would come so it was like a trigger. I never realised how important alcohol was in my life until I'd got a bit older and wiser. The more meetings I went to I got the same feeling."

After Everton, Green joined Tranmere Rovers on-loan, where he scored on his debut against AFC Wimbledon, before a nomadic journey from club to club saw him have spells with Oldham Athletic, Ossett Albion, Burnley and Kilmarnock in Scotland.

"I don't think my footballing ability was ever in question," he says. "I've always been technically gifted, but it was the fact my life wasn't right off the pitch which was why I failed at every club.

"When I played I don't think people could see there were problems, but it was when I started not turning up for training and going on the sick that they realised something was wrong."

Arriving at Salford City in 2017 felt like a turning point with the temptation of playing for a club backed financially by Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt outweighing the fact they were playing non league football.

"I thought things were going better and soon as I thought that my little behaviours started to creep in. It was complacency and I went on a little bender and Salford sent me back to Burnley," remembers Green.

"In the past six months I've had that realisation that it's like Groundhog Day. I was waking up and repeating those same patterns and those behaviours were creeping in. It's not nice to be like that - you just want to break that cycle and it's only when you do that you realise how much you've got going for you."

Green took an overdose in February last year and although he's described it more as a cry for help then a genuine suicide attempt, it was clear that something needed to change. Salvation came in the help and support he's received from former Nottingham Forest full-back Gary Charles, who battled alcoholism and now runs help service GCSportsCare.

"I hate the term depression," he says. "Yeah I was depressed, but that was down to my own drug use and the fact I was smashing every drink I could get down me."

A diagnose of ADHD has also helped as has attending Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, but what's really helped following his move to Chester has been life at home with partner, Charli, and their young daughter Daisy.

"It's important to keep yourself occupied," he says about his latest spell on the sidelines with a slipped disc. "I'm listening to the doctor's advice and he's telling me to rest as much as I can so I'm not driving in the car as much.

"I've never had certain things in place in my life before when I've been injured at other clubs to keep myself happy but now I've got my family around me so I'm busy with my kids and the everyday duties of being a father.

"There's no way at the moment that I should be depressed - I'm speaking about it and going to meetings and the only thing to concentrate on is trying to get my back better."

Now aged 22, Green has talked about getting involved in Chester’s community projects and is determined to speak more in public about his issues in order to raise awareness for mental health issues.

"I'm very new to it," he adds. "I've got a lot to learn but I enjoying speaking about it because it gets it off my chest as well helping other people."