Watford captain, Troy Deeney, said going to prison was a blessing in disguise which helped him rethink his life.
Deeney leads the club into their second ever English FA Cup final against Manchester City on Saturday.
The 30-year-old, who served three months of a 10-month sentence in 2012 following a conviction for affray, has since become a folk hero at the club.
Deeney has helped them to earn promotion to the English Premier League in 2015 and guided them to 11th this season.
He scored as Watford beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 3-2 after extra time of a memorable FA Cup semi-final to reach the final for the first time in 35 years.
Deeney is now eager to collect his medal from Britain’s Prince William.
He said: “It’s one of those games when, looking back on it now, from my background to meeting royalty and stuff, it’s mental really when you think about it.
“When I got to jail, it was a blessing in disguise because it made me re-evaluate and check who I am as a person.
“It opened up new avenues… such as seeing a psychologist and having to deal with my problems because I used to drink a lot as well. I used to think I was dealing with things, but I was drinking and that kind of went into a spiral effect.”
Deeney is aware of the daunting task facing Watford in their attempt to deny 2018/2019 EPL champions and English League Cup winners City a unique domestic treble.
Deeney added: “We’re massive underdogs, but at the same time, I’m hugely proud of the achievement.
“For me, it’s no fear. Look at everything we just spoke about. Football isn’t going to scare me or playing against Manchester City… because of everything I’ve been through.”
Watford lost 0-2 to Everton in 1984 in their previous appearance in the English FA Cup final.