REGRETS, he has a few. There is more than one that Moses Ashikodi hopes Zak Lovelace doesn't harbour after moving to Rangers.

Their careers are intrinsically linked by the record books, yet the life and times of the former offers a valuable lesson to a talent that has his own dreams and must avoid reliving Ashikodi's nightmare.

When Lovelace made his Championship debut against Coventry in December, he became the second youngest player in Millwall's history. That honour, earned by 100 days, is held by Ashikodi after he turned out against Brighton and Hove Albion in 2003.

Three years later, the striker arrived in Glasgow aiming to salvage his career. In a twist of fate, Rangers is the place where Lovelace is attempting to kick-start his own.

The tale of Ashikodi should serve as a warning and a reminder to Lovelace. Once heralded as one of England's brightest talents, the former Three Lions youth hung up his boots after a stint at VCD Athletic of the Isthmian League as he ended a nomadic and wasted career of more than thirty clubs and two caps for Antigua and Barbuda.

Ashikodi had already courted controversy by the time he was signed by Alex McLeish in 2006. Amid allegations of being the subject of bullying, he was kicked out of Millwall for confronting team-mate Mark McCammon with a knife in the canteen.

He joined fierce rivals West Ham but failed to make a first team appearance as a loan spell at Gillingham ended in acrimony. A move across the border was made with the best intentions and resulted in a debut during an Old Firm clash at Parkhead but the time at Rangers proved another false dawn and left Ashikodi with the biggest regret as a return to the capital saw his career spiral out of control.

Now 35, he confronts his demons and is open about his flaws. Rangers was the best place for him, and he is sure his young contemporary will discover that reality many years after it hit him.

"Don’t worry about London, don’t think about London or worry about what is going on in London," Ashikodi told Herald and Times Sport after Lovelace rejected a deal with the Lions and joined the Rangers B Team this summer. "Focus on your football career for the whole season.

"Worry about home when the season is finished and you have done your work. It is a full time job, so give it your best shot, get your head down and don’t worry about what is going on around you.

"Make sure you do what you need to do on the pitch and let the people around you do what they need to do. As long as you do your job and look after yourself.

"Yes, enjoy yourself when you can. But keep your feet on the ground and avoid the party life if you can.

"He has got the right people around him. I never had the right people around me when I was that age, I felt like it was in it for myself and I made a lot of mistakes.

"I didn’t have anyone to guide me. Zak has got an amazing team around him and I hope he keeps his feet on the ground. At 16, he is at an age where he just needs to get his head down.

"I was 17 when I went up there and he needs to be in and around the first team and then take his chance. Today, it doesn’t matter how old you are. If you are ready, you will play."

The rise and rise of Lovelace is remarkable. From Glebe FC of the Southern Counties East League Premier Division to the Championship, he is now aiming to break into a squad that will bid for the Premiership title and European achievement this term.

His eye for goal and physical stature speaks for itself and sets him apart. Closely guided by his father, his mentality could be what ultimately defines his Rangers career.

"What you will find is that a lot of boys from South London are ready really early," Ashikodi said. "I don’t know what it is about their development, I don’t know what it is, there is a stage in life where it stops.

"So Zak going to Glasgow is great for him. I always say this, I say it with a passion, that leaving Glasgow and Rangers was my biggest mistake.

"I had three offers on the table, which were Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Watford. I came back to London.

"I learned so much at Rangers because I had none of my friends around me. After training, I would stay back and do extra work because there was nothing else to do when I left.

"I wanted to stay behind, do extra work, learn more. I developed technically up in Scotland.

"They don’t teach you that in South London. Here, the boys focus on their strength and their speed."

Ashikodi's Rangers career amounted to only a few seconds after he replaced Chris Burke in a goalless draw for an underperforming McLeish side. Those months in Glasgow still mean a lot to him, though.

Ultimately, the lure of London, of home, was too strong as he dismissed advice from Ian Durrant and John Brown. A deal with Watford, which was followed by a serious leg break, proved to be a sliding doors moment.

"My time was good at Rangers, I just wish I was a bit more patient," Ashikodi said. "I would tell Zak to be patient and wait for his time. His time will come because he is still a young boy.

"I loved it in Scotland, absolutely loved Rangers. I am due to go back there in the next few weeks to watch some games and stuff.

"That was probably the best time in terms of football and Rangers were the best club that I have been at.

"To this day, that is the thing that me and my agent that I had argue about. I should never have left Rangers.

"I should never have come back to South London because there were too many distractions for me. I was raised on the streets and it was me coming back to the streets again.

"From when I was 11, 12, I was known all over South London. Before I made my debut, I knew I was going to be a player.

"A lot of South London kids know they are good enough before the boys up north but it is about opportunities."

Ashikodi was rarely short of managers willing to give him a chance. He never found roots, never gave himself a platform as he bounced from club to club and around the lower tiers of the English pyramid.

His career is an exemplary case of what might have been, of a talented wasted. From life as a teenage protege, he is now a voice of reason to the younger generation.

"I have made a lot of mistakes, don’t get me wrong," Ashikodi said. "Definitely.

"I do assemblies in primary schools and I talk to black boys in South London about knife crime and making sure they don’t do anything stupid.

"I tell them the things I have done, the mistakes I have made. Everyone knows that about me.

"I am very vocal about that and over the years footballers have known they had to have counselling. I have had counselling, I had to get it.

"If I didn’t get it, I would be the same as I was before and with the same mindset, blaming this person or blaming that person.

"You take ownership of your own life and you be a better man than you were yesterday."

Ashikodi is well aware of the pitfalls that can await young players. A natural talent is only part of the make-up that is required, especially today given the ever-changing financial and social faces of the game.

In time, Lovelace could become an inspiration to a generation. This is his chance and it is he will who will determine his path and his career.

"I am going to keep my eyes out on players, there are too many that are not going to make it," Ashikodi said. "I am focused on players in South London to make sure they are going in the right direction and get to where they need to get.

"I am so happy for Zak. One thing I tell a lot of young boys is that Zak is not better than the one that is playing non-League. He just got lucky right now, got a chance.

"I got lucky and others will get lucky. There is a lot of talent down here, so many talented players here.

"I was one and Zak is one and there will be more players to come. I love that Rangers have got a connection with South London kids and they can take advantage of that."