At the age of 17, Sean Highdale was a young footballer with the world at his feet.

A homegrown starlet of Liverpool's Academy, the young Scouser was captain of the U18s and part of back-to-back FA Youth Cup victories in 2006 and 2007. 

And, after being offered a professional contract by the club, he was already dreaming of progression to the first team at Anfield.

As he explains: "I signed for Liverpool when I was nine, got offered a professional contract when I was 17 and got called up for England as well. 

"I played about nine or 10 games for my country, so you can't really ask for more than that. 

"I was flying as a player so I couldn't wait to get older so I could join the reserves and hopefully the first team."

But, in April 2008, tragedy struck in the form of a car crash that claimed the lives of two of Sean's close friends and left the promising midfielder with an horrific list of injuries.

"I broke my ankle, I snapped my LCL, PCL and ACL in my knee, I had a kidney taken out, shattered two bones in my neck - I had to get a pin and plate put in there," he recalls.

Sadly, the ordeal ultimately ended his hopes of pursuing a career in the professional game, despite his commitment to a gruelling rehabilitation process.

But he soon found that his talents could still be put to use thanks to CP Football, a seven-a-side variation of the game played at the Paralympics.

After medical assessments provided him with a classification to play CP Football, Sean was drafted into the Team GB setup with one eye on Rio this summer.

And his education in the Liverpool Way was evident from the off, according to coach Keith Webb. 

"He brings a lot of qualities to the squad," he says.

"You can see that he's learned a lot from Liverpool and the professional traits that they try to produce in their players. 

"He's able to see a pass that other players in my squad can't see at times, he brings that bit of extra quality."

Webb manages a team containing former Birmingham City and Everton youth players, but he knows claiming a medal in Rio is still going to be an uphill task.

He adds: "No question, it's going to be a huge challenge. 

"Our first game is against the hosts, Brazil, and we're playing Ukraine as well as the Republic of Ireland, who are all ranked higher than us. 

"But in terms of where we're coming from, I believe we've assembled a squad that will give us every chance to compete at the highest level."

As for Sean, he is determined not to let this second opportunity at glory pass him by.

Paralympic gold might not have been his dream during his years as a Liverpool hopeful, but it is all he can think about as he heads to South America.

"All the lads are training so hard to do as well as we can in the Paralympics and I don't think for a second we can't compete with the best over there," he insists.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and experience for me, so I want to live in the moment when I'm over there and take [the chance] with both hands."