Professional footballers may be known for leading lavish lifestyles that include supercars and mega mansions – but the vast majority had humble beginnings that included regular jobs.
From working in beetroot factory to being an apprentice carpenter, some of the most memorable players in recent memory had to learn a trade before hitting it big time in football.
The amount of aspiring youngsters that end up making it as a pro player remains just a small fraction, with many encouraged to look at an alternative line of work.
While Stuart Pearce spent time as an electrician, Shaka Hislop was a NASA Intern, and Daily Star Sport have now taken a look at six players who started off in less glamorous employment.
Before Rickie Lambert had fired Southampton into the Premier League and hit headlines by playing for England and scoring on his debut against Scotland, he worked in a beetroot bottling plant.
Having been released by Liverpool at the age of 15, he joined Blackpool as a teenager before remaining a free agent for four months before signing for Macclesfield Town.
He told the Independent when asked about that period in 2013: “The beetroot factory was one of the only jobs I could get at the time. I was putting lids on jars.
“I was getting paid £20 a day. I would work in the day and go training at evening.”
Well known for his time playing at left-back for Nottingham Forest and England, Stuart Pearce advertised his services as an electrician around the club and the matchday programme.
He did so at the start of his career when a lengthy spell as a footballer wasn’t a certainty.
As an ambassador for Fiat Professional Tradesman Trials he said in 2016: "I know that in my career I worked hard and earned every penny. If I were speaking to academy players now I would tell them to learn a trade one day a week.
"I enjoyed my time as a tradesman and they are really planning for their futures if they don't make it."
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Former Germany striker Miroslav Klose spent time training to be an apprentice carpenter before moving to Kaiserslautern as the start of his career.
The 42-year-old went on to score almost 300 goals for club and country, winning two Bundesliga titles and winning the World Cup in 2014 taking his total tally across four tournaments to 16.
He told Stern in 2019: “I wanted to work as a craftsman. When a house was built and the crane pulled the roof beams into the air – that fascinated me.
“I finished my apprenticeship in the practical test with 99 out of 100 points. After a few months as a journeyman, I moved to Homburg, and from then on it was only football.”
Former Newcastle, West Ham and Portsmouth stopper Shaka Hislop has a degree in mechanical engineering – and worked at Nasa during a summer internship.
He told The Sun in 2018: “I have a degree in mechanical engineering and worked at Nasa.
“The Space Station project was spread over multiple sites but the DC office where I worked we oversaw the SS Endeavour.
“I only spent a couple of months working there for a summer internship between my third and fourth years but it was an enlightening experience.”
The journey of Jamie Vardy from non-league football to Premier League champion has been widely reported since he burst into the limelight and forced his way into England plans.
During his days in semi-professional football, he worked as a technician making medical splints in order to supplement his income while looking to rise up the leagues.
He told the Mirror in 2018: “I was working long hours, then playing football at night. I was a carbon-fibre technician, making splints for disabled people with drop-foot.
"We were lifting things into hot ovens hundreds of times a day and it was damaging my back.
“It wasn’t causing me to miss my football – if anything, I’d ring work some mornings and tell them I’d got injured playing, so I didn’t have to work.”
Much like Vardy, Charlie Austin didn’t find his way into the Premier League through an academy, but by putting in the hours in the lower leagues.
The on loan QPR striker was a bricklayer, and only ended that career when offered a professional deal at Swindon Town before joining Burnley, QPR, Southampton and now West Brom.
He told Match of the Day Kickabout : “I was a labourer first. My dad owns a building firm down south and I left school and that was it, to go and work for him.
“That was something that I enjoyed doing Monday to Friday and play football at the weekend.
“I did go up there and learn the trowel, but I only had to for a couple of weeks because the football took over and I went to Swindon. I think that gave me the platform and, rubbish pun, gave me the foundations.”
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