Iceland's Gylfi Sigurdsson is a young man who has already travelled an impressive distance in his nomadic career. This summer, though, the highly rated Swansea City star will embark on his biggest challenge to date as his little-known Iceland team look to upset the odds at Euro 2016.
The 26-year-old midfielder will certainly be the go-to man for Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson's squad in France. And not for the first time in his topsy-turvy career, Sigurdsson will need to call upon his eye-catching skills and underrated resolve if Iceland are to make it out of Group F, which also features Portugal, Austria and Hungary.
Of course, Sigurdsson's footballing life began far away from the glitz and glamour of Euro 2016, with his hometown side FH. He then joined Breiðablik, the largest sports club in the country. However it wasn't long before the ambitious teenager had summoned up the courage to make the potentially daunting switch from his homeland to Reading, where he signed an academy scholarship in October 2005.
The technically gifted youngster spent three years honing his enviable talents with the club's youth and reserve teams, performing impressively enough to earn his first professional contract and justify the risk he took in moving at such a tender age. However, that was just the start for the free-kick specialist, who made his long-awaited debut during a League Cup game against Luton Town in 2008.
By now, Reading were fully awake to Sigurdsson's potential, and while he was not yet ready for the hustle and bustle of their first team, manager Steve Coppell knew his skills would be an asset to lowly Shrewsbury Town, where he spent a month on loan before subsequently signing a two-month loan deal at Crewe Alexandra.
The Icelander could not prevent Crewe's relegation to League Two, but had done enough to earn a recall to the Reading first-team squad for the 2009/10 season. The newly appointed Brendan Rodgers opted to play Sigurdsson on the left flank, but he really started to flourish under his successor Brian McDermott, who allowed the Icelander to play more centrally. From that position, Sigurdsson was able to dictate the game and showcase his creative qualities for the Royals.
During two impressive seasons at the Madejski Stadium, Sigurdsson emerged as one of the most exciting young midfielders in the English game, with his long-range passing and shooting from distance marking him out as an eye-catching talent. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was not long before he was attracting interest from overseas, with German outfit Hoffenheim signing him in 2010.
But whereas Sigurdsson had previously made a seamless transition to life in English football, he did not find the move to Germany as straightforward. The Icelander was voted as Hoffenheim's fans' player of the season during his first season, despite only starting 13 games, but he fell down the pecking order at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena during the following campaign and was soon on the move again.
Following a successful loan spell in the Premier League with Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur signed Sigurdsson in 2012, after he initially appeared set to sign for Premier League rivals Liverpool. Sigurdsson was Andre Villas-Boas' first signing as the Tottenham boss and he excelled under the tutelage of the Portuguese coach.
Once again, however, a change of manager brought a change of luck for Sigurdsson and Villas-Boas' replacement Mauricio Pochettino opted to sell him to Swansea in 2014, where he has once again proven his class, performing a key role in ensuring their Premier League survival. The Icelander is now among the Premier League's most in-demand midfielders and a good showing with his national side could seal another money-spinning move for the roaming star.
At the peak of his powers and with a wealth of experience – both good and bad – already behind him, the stage is set for Sigurdsson to make himself a global icon this summer.