MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 26: Dale Thomas of the Blues and his teammates leave the field after losing the round 10 AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Carlton Blues at Marvel Stadium on May 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Being an AFL player was not all sunshine and rainbows, according to former Collingwood and Carlton star Dale Thomas.

The 2010 premiership Magpie hung up the boots last year after 258 games in the black and white and navy blue.

The former Pick 2 joined Carlton at the end of 2013 but battled a host of injuries during his time at Ikon Park and never getting back to his best form from the early 2010s.

Speaking to Erin Barnett on Channel 10’s I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! Thomas admitted he fell out of love with the game at times.

“After 14 years, I had times where I was like, ‘this is all I ever wanted to do and I genuinely hate this’. You’re like ‘what is wrong with me for feeling like that?'” Thomas said on Channel 10.

“(But) the last couple of years I got to fall back in love with football and leave on a note where I felt like I had given everything of myself, don’t have any regrets as to how my career panned out.”

The 32-year old was keen to play on in 2020 but was essentially forced into retirement.

“I retired in the sense that I told the club I was retiring after they told me that there wasn’t a spot for me in the list next year,” Thomas said. “I was always really realistic that at some point it would come to an end.

“For some weird reason when you’re in the AFL and you get to 30 years old, it’s only a matter of time before you get wound up.”

In retirement, Thomas has come to appreciate the smaller things in life.

“AFL footy is unbelievable. I was so fortunate to play, I’m so grateful for the opportunities that I got. But as a 32-year-old bloke to be told when you can and can’t do things does become a little bit tedious and I haven’t known anything else but that lifestyle,” he said.

“To now to be able to go out for dinner and have a parma and a pot, play golf and stick around for a beer after the game, just these little things that I’ve never got to experience that I’m thoroughly enjoying.”