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Non-League to Premier League: Five England capped strikers

Matt Haynes | November 3, 2015

Following Jamie Vardy’s exceptional scoring streak with Leicester City, (7/2 top six hopes) Coral compile a list of five other strikers who started in non-league football, made it to the Premier League and earned England caps.

Ian Wright

Blackburn v Arsenal/wright scores
Much-loved striker Wright was at Greenwich Borough when he was scouted by Peter Prentice for Crystal Palace and, after a successful trial which impressed Steve Coppell, he penned a contract going on to score nine goals that season, finishing as the Eagles’ third highest ever scorer. Wright went onto score 126 goals for Palace, before earning a switch to Arsenal where he won the Premier League, FA Cup twice, the League Cup and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. The striker also played for England, earning 33 caps scoring nine goals.

Kevin Phillips

Sunderland QPR Phillips penalty
Having started at non-league side Baldock Town, he was used initially as a defender, before an injury crisis led to him being picked up front where he bagged a brace in his first match. He was subsequently signed by Watford in 1994 where he scored 24 goals in 59 matches.

Arguably his most successful stint came at his next club, Sunderland where his 113 goals in 208 appearances earned him an England call-up. Although he made eight appearances between 1999 and 2002, he was unable to find the net. Following his time at the Black Cats, he was poached by Southampton 2003 who had spurned him as a teenager. He went on to become somewhat of a journeyman, playing for 10 different clubs in total, earning a reputation for helping teams get out of the Championship.

Les Ferdinand

SOCCER Les Ferdinand
Turning out for a number of non-league sides, Ferdinand was at Hayes when he was spotted by QPR, who acquired him for £30K then loaned him out to Besiktas the following season, where he netted 14 goals in 24 appearances.

In 1995, Newcastle United swooped for his signature where the striker went on to net 41 goals in 68 appearances, forming an effective partnership with Alan Shearer. Moving to Tottenham two years later, injuries curtailed most of his time at Spurs, though he forged a potent on-field relationship with Jurgen Klinsmann, scoring 33 goals in 118 outings. Representing England from 1993 until 1998, he got 17 caps and struck five times.

Stan Collymore

Soccer - Endsleigh League Division One - Nottingham Forest v Middlesbrough - City Ground
Starting at non-league side Stafford Rangers, Collymore soon caught the eye of a number of professional clubs by demonstrating an ability to score spectacular goals. He signed for Crystal Palace in 1990, though scored only once in 20 showings. He fared better at his next club, Southend United, where he found the net 15 times; a strike rate of 50 per cent, however, it was at Nottingham Forest where he really made his mark.

Between 1993 and 1995, Collymore donned the famous red and white kit 65 times, being afforded the opportunity to hit the back of the net on 41 occasions. It was this kind of form that earned him a move to Liverpool where he scored 28 in 64 games, establishing a potent partnership with Robbie Fowler. During his career, Collymore won three England caps, though never scored.

Danny Ings

Britain Soccer Premier League
Like Vardy, Ings is another recent call-up. While he didn’t strictly start in non-league, his first club Bournemouth loaned him to Dorchester Town, where he had a hit rate of nearly one every two matches. Securing a move to Burnley, he scored 38 goals in 122 appearances, playing a big part in helping the Clarets win promotion to the Premier League, earning a move to Liverpool a season later. To date, he has one England cap.

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