Three Great Footballers Who Were Late Developers

Some footballers are set for greatness from an early age.

They score hatfuls of goals for their junior teams, get snapped up by a big club before they start primary school, and ease their way through the various age groups before hitting the first team.

For some, however, the journey is a little harder. They appear to be fairly average players before developing late, bursting on to the scene when few expected them to.

These stories give encouragement to every young player – keep working hard, and the rewards will come sooner, or indeed, later.

Here are five late developing footballers:

Peter-Crouch-001Peter Crouch
Crouch signed for Tottenham when he was 17 but did not play a single game for them, going on loan deals before moving to a series of other clubs. Many thought the 6ft 7in striker was too tall to be any good, but he proved everyone wrong with successful spells at Southampton and Liverpool, before moving back to Spurs in 2009. Has gone on to score 22 goals for England.

FBL-EUR-C1-MARSEILLE-BELGRADEDidier Drogba
Drogba is now considered to be one of Chelsea’s greatest ever players, but at 25 he was still playing second-division football with Guincamp in France. It was only after moves to Marseille and then Chelsea that his career took off, culminating in that Champions League-winning penalty in 2012.

IanWrightIan Wright
Wright, one of Arsenal’s most prolific strikers, came to football particularly late. He had trials for both Southend and Brighton during his teens, but failed to win a professional contract. It was only after being spotted playing for Dulwich Hamlet that he was offered a trial at Crystal Palace, and was subsequently offered a contract just before his 22nd birthday. His incredible career that followed at both Palace and the Gunners – over 300 goals in total – prove that it’s never too late!

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