Darren Anderton says it was important for him to keep on playing football in his later years, even though it meant stepping down the divisions.
The former midfielder played for England in the 1998 World Cup and in the Premier League with Tottenham, but as his career wound down the Southampton-born star moved on to Wolves and ended his career with League One side Bournemouth.
And he said his time at Dean Court in the twilight of his career was one of his most enjoyable experiences in football.
"When I went to Wolves things did not go the way I would have liked and I did not really enjoy it," said Anderton on the The Footballers' Football Show.
"I did not want to finish my career that way, I wanted to go out enjoying football; it is why I played it in the first place.
"We played not for money but because we loved the game. At that point I was not in love with it and didn't want to end that way.
"My dad was unwell at the time and I wanted to go back down south - Portsmouth, Bournemouth or Southampton whoever it would be - and when the Bournemouth opportunity came up it was a great chance for me."
"I knew as a football club they tried to play football the right way which was importantly everything fitted for me to carry on playing and I am really glad that I did.
"When I went there I was a little bit worried how the players would take to me, and I hoped they did not think I was going to be big time because of where I had played before, but we are all the same; we love playing and I took to them and they took to me.
"They were a great set of lads and they were there to learn and wanted to play the game the right way. I really enjoyed my time down there and really pleased that I made the decision to stay there."
Anderton, who won 30 caps for England, also said that the while it was just as important to perform at League One level as it was to perform at an international level, you also had time to enjoy yourself more.
He added: "You still put pressure on yourself to perform every week but the pressure is totally different and you can enjoy it a little bit more. Plus, the chance to help players coming through was a real buzz for me.
"For me it was almost going full circle, I started at Portsmouth where you are an apprentice - cleaning boots and doing jobs to earn your right to be a professional footballer - so to go back round and do that again was outstanding."
Anderton rues the loss of the traditional football apprenticeship and believes it helped young players cope with the fame and fortune when it came their way.
"As an apprentice growing up in Portsmouth you were scared to go into the first-team changing room," added Anderton.
"They would throw things at you - like boots to clean, dirty towels to get sorted and dirty kit to wash - but you respected them.
"It was more old school and things are different now - some good, some bad. But those were the things that made you want to be in that dressing room even more. They don't do that any more.
"The money has improved and these youngsters are playing because they love the game but I think things do come too easy for them and that makes it difficult for them."