Tim Ream is used to be written off. The veteran American centre back is looking to earn a third promotion from the Championship with Fulham this season – having previously been considered surplus to requirements by former managers Slavisa Jokanovic and Scott Parker.

The 34 year-old has produced a series of consistent displays having proved his worth to new Fulham head coach Marco Silva and has become used to making his critics eat their words at Craven Cottage. But, as the likeable centre back told the Sun in a wide-ranging interview ahead of the Whites’ FA Cup clash at Manchester City this afternoon, he has long been used to people scoffing at his dreams of making it in professional football.

“When I was 14, I had a school career counsellor who asked me what I wanted to do as an adult. I said I wanted to play football professionally. “It’s still so fresh in my mind. He said, ‘That’s great but nobody from this school has ever become a professional athlete, so your chances are pretty much slim to zero’. I thought, I’m not going to let you tell me what I can’t do. It’s an example I use with the kids we mentor.

“Truthfully, I feel like every season I tend to get written off by certain corners. That’s fine, that’s the nature of what we do and of being the oldest guy in the squad. I embrace that challenge. It is satisfying being here, playing and starting, and being top of the table. It’s vindication for the hard work I’ve put in.”

Ream reflected on the cut throat nature of elite sport just days after being shocked by Denis Odoi’s abrupt departure in the dying hours of transfer deadline day.

“I had no idea about him leaving whatsoever. I went to bed at 9.30pm and woke up at 6am for the school run. There were 45 messages in our group chat. When I saw it, my face dropped and I was like, ‘Wow, is this for real?’ You spend five-and-a-half years with a guy and, in a blink of an eye, he’s moved on.”

Ream reckons Fulham can cause problems for Pep Guardiola’s all-conquering Manchester City side this afternoon by virtue of their attacking threat.

“We’re under no illusions that it’s going to be the toughest game. But we’ll go there knowing we can score goals for fun. Probably 95 per cent of the guys in our changing room have been knocked down over the course of the last two, three, even four seasons. Here we still are, trying to do it again.”

You certainly have to salute his resilience.