Jordan Pickford, goalkeeper Can a career’s low point occur at the start?
Pickford made his professional debut at Darlington, where he spent 17 games on loan and had zero victories, 39 goals conceded, and one relegation.
“In some respects, non-league is the most difficult challenge,” he explained.
“You’re a young lad, and you’re getting yelled at.”
“That’s what Darlington teaches you.” Jordan Pickford during his Darlington days.
Aaron Ramsdale’s Bournemouth career was almost gone before it began when he overslept and missed the bus to an away game against Chelsea. Photograph: Steve Drew/EMPICS Sport Aaron Ramsdale’s Bournemouth career was almost over before it began when he overslept and failed to show up for the bus to an away game against Chelsea.
“It was the penny-dropping moment,” Ramsdale told the Guardian, “since I was at home when they were playing and couldn’t do anything about it.”
Sam Johnstone never made a first-team appearance for Manchester United and was loaned out to seven different clubs, including his hometown club, Preston, where he replaced the recalled Jordan Pickford.
Two other loan moves for Johnstone were cut short due to finger injuries.
While training at Scunthorpe, he dislocated a finger, and he had another mishap in the warm-up before a game for Yeovil Town.
Kyle Walker: After winning the PFA Young Player of the Year award in 2012, Walker established himself as England’s first-choice right-back just in time for the World Cup two years later, only to suffer a pelvic injury at the season’s end.
He claims his football nadir provided him “a wise old head on my shoulders” now that he is a senior member of the national side.
Luke Shaw was “very near to losing my leg” after a terrible double-fracture in 2015.
Shaw was also often chastised by his own manager for reasons that even he didn’t understand.
Shaw, on the other hand, has established himself as the country’s best left-back since Jose Mourinho’s departure.
“He simply needs to move on,” Shaw said last month, a grin on his face.
“Maybe he can now stop worrying about me,” Luke Shaw said after being tackled by PSV’s Hector Moreno, which resulted in a major injury.
Photograph: VI-Images/VI-Images via Getty Images John Stones was dismissed from Manchester City’s starting lineup two seasons ago due to a poor run of form.
The writing was on the wall when a youthful Eric Garcia was picked for a Champions League quarter-final, and Everton were confident Stones would be back.
He stayed, though, and is now an important member of the country’s best team, with a medal to show for it.
In August 2020, Harry Maguire was sentenced to 21 months and 10 days in prison on the Greek island of Mykonos for serious assault, resisting arrest, and attempted bribery.
He is adamant in his denial of any wrongdoing.
When he was arrested on the vacation island, he said he was “scared for my life.”
Although an appeal has been filed, due to a backlog, the case is unlikely to be heard before 2021.
In March, Kieran Trippier returned after a 10-week suspension for violating betting regulations.
The defender was also fined PS70,000 for the infringement, which was prompted by him advising friends about his impending move to Atletico Madrid and how they should bet on the transaction coming through, according to a Football Association inquiry.
He was cleared of betting-related charges and returned in time to help Atleti win La Liga.
Tyrone Mings After seven years at Southampton, he was dismissed because he was deemed too little.
Mings was obliged to play down one age category, which was a clear sign of things to come.
After spells at Yate and Chippenham, he would have to wait another three years to join another professional team, Ipswich.
Conor Coady has been unfazed throughout his career, bouncing back fast after being traded by his boyhood club Liverpool.
He had misgivings about Nuno Espirito Santos’ desire to transition him from central midfielder to center-back, but he quickly converted and became an international.
Liverpool’s Conor Coady in action versus Marseilles in an under 19s encounter.
Ben Chilwell “was absolutely convinced he was going to get released” at Leicester when he was 15, and nearly gave up football to pursue cricket: the year before, he had registered with the Northants academy and even travelled to Loughborough for an England U15s trial.
Nonetheless, Leicester kept him on during the summer, and he was named captain of the U16s just a few games into the new football season.
Ben White White was released by Southampton at the age of 16, but his mother, Carole, immediately began calling other clubs for tryouts, and Brighton took a chance.
“I’m playing with a lot of confidence now.”
“It’s the polar opposite of who I used to be,” White acknowledges.
“I spent a lot of time on the bench.”
So I moved to Brighton and joined the team immediately away.
They believed in me.” Reece James was discouraged as a teenager after gaining weight and being passed over for a long-term contract.
Sunday morning workouts with a fitness coach and a transition to a more defensive position helped him get back on track, but his progress while on loan at Wigan was hampered by a major ankle injury sustained while representing England at the 2019 Toulon tournament.
Declan Rice, a midfielder, recalled the day his son was notified by Chelsea that he would be released as “horrible.”
Rice began training as a 14-year-old with Spurs, Reading, and Fulham – from whom he turned down a lucrative contract – before eventually opting for West Ham, where he is now the club’s crown jewel.
In their Chelsea youth days, Mason Mount and his best mate Declan Rice.
Photograph: handout Jack Grealish was kicked in the kidney during a friendly against Watford in the summer of 2017.
He needed surgery to save his organ.
“I expected to be back in a week,” he continued, “but it took three or four months.”
The experience inspired him to strengthen his body in order to withstand the tackling that his style of play necessitates.
Jordan Henderson was supposed to be the makeweight in a trade that would have sent him to Fulham and Clint Dempsey to Liverpool in the summer of 2012, but he declined.
Henderson’s enthusiasm was critical to Brendan Rodgers’ team’s drive towards the 2013-14 title.
Nevertheless, a red card against Manchester City cost Liverpool his legs in the last weeks of the season.
As a Champions League and Premier League-winning captain, he is now at the Euros.
Working under Steve Evans was difficult for midfielder Kalvin Phillips, since he did not receive the opportunity he had hoped for after breaking into the first team under his old youth coach Neil Redfearn.
“He’d say I’d start a game and then we’d come into the locker room before a game and I wouldn’t even be on the bench,” Phillips claimed.
Currently a regular for Leeds United in the Premier League, as well as for England.
Mason Mount has had a difficult Euros after being forced into self-isolation for ten days after coming into contact with Billy Gilmour, a clubmate who tested positive for Covid.
Mount was an unused substitute against Germany after practicing alone, but he improved against Ukraine and Denmark and now appears likely to start the final on Sunday.
Last September, England’s Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood were dropped from the squad after inviting ladies back to the team hotel in Iceland after a friendly, blatantly violating Covid-19 procedures.
Harry Southgate stated it “trust needs to be reestablished and that takes time,” but the Stockport Iniesta was back in the England fold after just two months (and an apology).
In Reykjavik, Phil Foden got himself into some trouble.
Bukayo Saka’s early years at Arsenal’s academy were the most difficult. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
He had “growing aches” in his knees and heels and “kept asking how long it would be before I was able to play without agony.”
Saka’s parents, who came from Nigeria to London, worked hard hours while driving him across the city for instruction.
Jude Bellingham adjusting to life in a foreign country at such a young age is difficult enough, but Covid-19 has made it even more difficult, with his mother Denise staying in Germany to help him acclimate.
Bellingham has had to deal with the hostility after Birmingham withdrew his shirt number: “I had to take all the remarks and the memes on the chin.”
Forwards Harry Kane’s career has been marred by a number of muscle and ankle problems, and his performance in the 2019 Champions League final revealed that he had been rushed back.
Following another ankle injury that necessitated surgery the following season, Kane changed his game to become much more of a playmaker, while still leading the Premier League scoring lists.
In 2016, a tattoo of an M16 gun on Raheem Sterling sparked uproar in the tabloids, despite Sterling’s explanation that it was a memorial to his father, who was shot and killed in Jamaica when he was two years old.
Sterling’s personal life has been scrutinized numerous times, but he has maintained a high level of dignity and bravery in exposing and speaking out against bigotry.
During a training session at Saint Georges Park in 2018, Raheem Sterling shows off a tattoo of an assault rifle on his lower leg.
Marcus Rashford OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images Despite a breakthrough under Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho was never impressed by Rashford’s abilities and relegated him to the left wing, where he competed with Anthony Martial.
Rashford was resurrected following Mourinho’s dismissal in December 2018 and the appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who gave him more freedom and responsibility.
With his campaigns for the poor, Rashford has risen to become a senior player as well as a civic leader in the United Kingdom.
At the age of 17, Jadon Sancho decided he needed to leave Manchester City because he didn’t see a way into Pep Guardiola’s first team.
He took the risk of joining Borussia Dortmund.
Former coach Louis Lancaster told the Guardian, “Jadon kind of said, ‘Oh, this pathway isn’t for me, so I’ll just make my own.”
Dominic Calvert-Lewin experienced a massive growth spurt when he was 15, to the point that he acquired Osgood-Schlatter disease and a stress fracture in his lower back, which forced him to miss six months of school.
“I’d always been the fastest, but my body was failing me,” he recalls.
Calvert-Lewin didn’t fully recover until he was 17, but once a coach shifted him to striker, the rest is history.