Kenneth Omeruo's regression has now come full circle.
His latest omission from Gernot Rohr's Nigeria squad is a humiliating indication of just how far the previously highly regarded former junior international has fallen out of national-team favour.
From a starting centre-back under the late Stephen Keshi, his international career has tanked to a previously unfathomable low.
As a member of the 2009 U-17 World Cup silver medal-winning squad, Omeruo was regarded as one of Nigeria's brightest young prospects, and he was among the first in that class of 2009 to make a full international debut, at just 19.
He went on to play every game in Nigeria's march to the 2013 African Nations Cup title, and did the same at both the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Early in Rohr's tenure as Nigeria coach, he threatened to retake his place as the preferred -- and even senior -- starting centre-back.
However, an error which allowed Zambian striker Collins Mbesuma in to score in Nigeria's 2-1 opening 2018 World Cup qualifying win, opened the gates to doubt and he was shunted to right-back in the home fixture against Algeria as the Oyinbo Wall partnership between William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun developed.
Despite being dropped to the bench as Abdullahi Shehu took his place in the side as right-back, an injury to Balogun as the Super Eagles prepared to face South Africa offered hope that Omreruo would be back partnering Troost-Ekong at the back.
However, that didn't happen. He was dropped to the bench as the rookie Chidozie Awaziem started in Nigeria's disastrous home defeat by Bafana Bafana.
A selection outcry in the wake of that loss did not lead to improved circumstances for the 23-year-old.
Instead, things were to get decidedly worse.
First, he found himself on the standby list for the next set of games, the World Cup qualifying double-header against Cameroon, before this final humiliation, total omission from the squad.
All of this means he has gone from first-choice central-defender, to being banished to right-back, dropped to the bench, then exiled to standby status and finally left completely on the cold.
It is not difficult to identify the genesis of Omeruo's troubles.
Despite his 37 international caps - impressive for someone his age -- he has failed to establish himself at club level.
Since joining Chelsea in 2012, Omeruo has not made a single competitive appearance for the Premier League club. Instead, he has been farmed out on a series of successive loan deals across three different countries.
This lack of stability is what is coming back to bite him in the behind.
The lack of a settled home means he almost always lacks a proper pre-season with his new team and requires a bedding-down period to establish himself. This season, for instance, he spent the majority of the pre-season with Chelsea's under-21 side playing essentially meaningless friendly games while his Super Eagles competition were piling up minutes under their belts with their respective clubs.
In that time, Omeruo also renewed his contract with Chelsea, tying himself to the English champions for another three years before being shipped out on loan again, to Kasimpasa in Turkey.
All of this has led to this final snub, Rohr seemingly unable to stomach one of his supposedly top defenders unable to find the stability that every player needs.
Contrary to some opinion, Omeruo is not a bad defender. Actually, he is a good, rugged and skilled centre-back with the ability to play the ball out of the back with intelligence.
However, perhaps this latest snub will be the shock in the system he needs to finally shed the Chelsea millstone around his neck and move to a club that will not only value him, but give him the consistency that comes with peace of mind.
Omeruo needs it, otherwise a second World Cup appearance could be in serious jeopardy.