Striker Jermain Defoe is on the verge of winning his 50th England cap but has a different perspective on life and football after suffering a double summer family tragedy.
Defoe will take great pride from reaching the milestone if he plays a part in England's opening World Cup 2014 qualifier in Moldova on Friday evening. But the Tottenham player has had to deal with bigger issues with the death of his father through cancer and one of his cousins being electrocuted in a swimming pool during the past few months.
He said: "You get disappointments in life and then everything turns good but it has been difficult for me and my family. It has been hard, especially with my dad."
He went on: "From day one, when he was diagnosed, I was with him from the first meeting in the hospital. I am only 29 and to deal with that was quite difficult.
"I had to tell dad my 'it will be okay and be positive, keep praying and have faith.'
"I have always known about cancer but to be around someone who has cancer and to see what it does in such a short space of time was mad."
Defoe admitted: "It makes you think about your life and what is important. I have got a big family and we have always been close.
"If you have an argument with someone and you sulk, sometimes you don't want to speak to them. But it is important to keep your friends close to you and do the right things.
"It did make me think about my life especially with what happened with my cousin as well, electrocuted in a pool. She was only 21.
"To be honest, the only time I am really at peace is when I am training and playing. Obviously when you are on your own you start thinking (about) stuff."