Vardy! Rags to football riches XI : football rejects who went from non league to the top
Here’s our non-league to England XI, prompted by the admirable ascent of one Jamie Vardy, yes, he of Vardy Party fame.
Thing is, to read about his new academy, to re-read his fairytale rise from teen Sheffield Wednesday reject to top of the Premiership pile at 28 and to hear of plans for a movie, you would think he was unique.
As our team shows, however, there have been many examples of players blooming late, going back many years. Here are just a few, so feel free to tell us who’s missing…
Following the player’s name we have listed the year they first played for England, and as you can see, it’s really nothing new!
Ben Foster (Tiverton, Stafford & Kidderminster on
loan) Senior England Debut (SED): 2007
Chris Smalling (Maidstone United) SED: 2011
Zat Knight (Rushall Athletic) SED: 2005
Gary Pallister (Billingham Synphonia)
Stuart Pearce (Wealdstone) SED: 1987
Andy Gray (Corinthian Casuals) SED: 1991
Alan Devonshire (Southall) SED: 1980
Chris Waddle (Tow Law Town) SED: 1985
Kevin Phillips (Baldock Town) SED: 1999
Ian Wright (Dulwich Hamlet) SED: 1991
Sir Les Ferdinand (Hayes) SED: 1993
Jamie Vardy (Stocksbridge Park Steels) SED: 2015
Charlie Austin (Poole Town) SED: n/a (hold your horses, the bandwagon may have passed him by)
Jamie Vardy picture courtesy of Whassuo