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5 Players Who Went From Non-League to Premier League


Jamie Vardy's incredible run of scoring in eleven straight matches and his rise through the divisions, has emphasized the fact that there are some quality players that can still be found in the lower leagues, or even non-league football, if clubs are willing to take a chance at finding a diamond in the rough.

The following are five other players who came from non-league football and are now starring in the top flight:

Joe Hart -  Shrewsbury Town to Manchester City


England keeper Joe Hart made his debut for Shrewsbury Town while they were in the Conference in 2006, before being scooped up by Manchester City. More than a few Premier League sides are likely cursing their luck at missing out on the two time Premier League winner.

Ashley Williams - Hednesford Town to Swansea City, via Stockport County


Before quietly establishing himself as one of the more reliable defenders in the Premier League, Ashley Williams, the Swansea and Wales captain, began his career at Hednesford Town. A move to Stockport County followed before he joined Swansea City, who were in League One at the time, in 2007. He's been with Swansea ever since.

Chris Smalling - Maidstone United to Manchester United, via Fulham


It hasn't always been easy for Chris Smalling after joining Manchester United. With the tall order of being one of the defenders earmarked to replace club legends Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, it's taken the man nicknamed "Mike" a few years to find his feet. But this season he's been one of United's most consistent players. Smalling joined United from Fulham in 2010, two years after going to Craven Cottage from non-league Maidstone.

Dwight Gayle - Stansted to Crystal Palace, via Dagenham and Peterborough


After being cut by Arsenal as a youth, Dwight Gayle joined Essex League side Stansted where he scored an impressive 40 goals in 42 appearances. He quickly attracted the attention of bigger sides, moving first to Dagenham & Redbridge before a move to Peterborough and then finally making it to the big time with Crystal Palace.

Ben Foster - Racing Club Warwick to West Brom, via Various Clubs


Another England international keeper who took an unusual route to the bigtime, Ben Foster started his career with Racing Club Warwick before a move to the then second tier Stoke City. Foster spent some time as a backup at Manchester United before impressing at Birmingham City and then finally West Brom.
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