Robbie Williams lives in fear that his career will be ''taken away'' from him.

The 42-year-old singer has admitted ever since he was told his band Take That ''wouldn't last'' he's always worrying that his own solo career will fold and he will be sent back home to Stoke-on-Trent in the West Midlands to work in his mother's flower shop.

He said: ''I'm neurotic and I find things to worry about, and if there's nothing to worry about, I make something up.

''When we got put together in Take That, we were told it wasn't going to last, you'd be lucky if you got five years.

''Even during the sort of imperial phase of my career, I'd be thinking, 'Is it stopping now?' I'm 25 years in now, but I'm still sort of waiting for the rug to be pulled from underneath me, for it all to be put back in the box and taken away from me, and for me to be sent back to Stoke-on-Trent: 'See, you're right, this ultimately what you wanted, because you wanted to sabotage this, be found out for the charlatan you are, and you have to and work for your mum at the flower shop.'

''So I think, underneath everything, that's what's propelled me forward, and also made me terrified at the same time.

''Not that working for my mum in the flower shop would be a terrifying prospect, it's just that my life's better now.''

The 'Party Like a Russian' hitmaker - who has Theodora, four, and Charlton, two, with his wife Ayda Field - has admitted he feels like he's at a stage where he needs to ''redefine'' his success because he's not ''imperial'' anymore.

He told the Guardian newspaper: ''I suppose I've got to redefine my success.

''I've yet to shape it and whittle it. and to convince myself that everything's all right ... I do realise that I'm in a place now where I'm not imperial. When you're imperial, it's sort of like stepping up to a pool table and knowing you're just not going to miss. Whatever you release, you're not going to miss.''

However, Robbie admits that he is more concerned with providing for his two children than being the biggest selling pop star.

He said: ''Because I had three years off and s**t stopped working. My brain stopped working. There is a monetary aspect to this, but when I say I need to work, I need to because of that classic thing: people retire and then they die.

''I've got a great job, and it's a great hobby really, but It's something I need to do. And it sounds dramatic, but you die inside if you don't. So I need to do that.''