Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Friday August 1 2008
There is a good story doing the rounds about a young lad, he is 17 I think, who played for Sutton United last season and banged in 30 goals for them.
Apparently he only started playing football 2 years ago; here is a snippet from an Ipswich Town web site:
"Dos Santos reportedly only starting playing football a couple of years ago and has made a meteoric rise. He made his debut with Sutton in the Blue Square South three months prior to his 17th birthday, having netted almost 30 goals for their reserves and youth sides.
Portsmouth have already taken Dos Santos on trial and he is now at Palace on a similar spell but plenty of other clubs are believed to be keen to take a look at the youngster.
Dos Santos, whose family hails from Portugal, has left Sutton in order to pursue a career with a league club."
Now this got me thinking how many other 'gems` there are out there, undiscovered talents just waiting to be plucked from obscurity and thrust into the limelight of Professional Football.
With the vast amount of imported players at the top level of English football and then the natural cascade down through the leagues of English players there must be some slipping through the net.
Ian Wright was a late starter signing for Crystal Palace at 22 after being spotted playing Sunday League football and only really hitting the big time after signing for Arsenal at the age of 28, but Wrighty was a one off wasn`t he?
Ian Taylor was 24 before turning 'pro` with Port Vale and his best years followed even later at Aston Villa for whom he signed as a 26 year old, the former warehouse labourer and electrician said about his late start to football life:
'I'm so glad I saw the other side of life before I got into professional football'
'It means I don't take anything for granted. I've always been used to having to work for anything I achieve.'
There have been others, Vinny Jones signed for Wimbledon has a 21 year old, Chris Kamara joined Portsmouth from the Royal Navy and Guy Whittingham of Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday fame was an ex British Soldier who turned professional at the age of 25.
So maybe there are many hidden treasures out there and whats needed is investment into scouting at local levels to find the talent that is right under our noses.
Can you think of any late starters?
Lets see how many we can name
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Date:Friday August 1 2008
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