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People Are Reminiscing About Facing Someone Who Became A Professional Footballer

People Are Reminiscing About Facing Someone Who Became A Professional Footballer

Did you ever play against someone who went on to become a professional footballer? Well, hundreds of people are taking to social media to speak about their personal experiences.

In a fascinating Reddit post, one user mentions bumping into Eric Dier during his early days at Sporting Lisbon, while another talks about a young Kyle Walker and his incredible presence on the pitch.

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Former West Ham striker Simone Zaza gets a mention, while Alisson, Tom Huddlestone and Ashley Barnes also feature alongside Championship Manager legend Freddy Adu.

Here are a few examples from the discussion. Sit back, relax and take in some incredible stories about some recognisable faces.

Ross Barkley (former Everton midfielder. Now plays for Chelsea)

"I played against Ross Barkley in the Echo Cup Final at Anfield in 2008. He was by far the best player on the pitch, it wasn't even funny how much better he was than us.

"We lost 3-1 and he scored two belters. What I do remember is all my school mates at the time were talking about this team having this lad who Is sponsored by Nike and is on the books at Everton. I didn't realise I would be playing against a future England international." - Reddit user graveyeverton93.

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Scott Sinclair (former Chelsea, Aston Villa and Celtic winger. Now plays for Preston North End)

"Scott Sinclair scored the winner in extra time to knock my team out of the U15 Somerset County Cup semi-final. He was playing as a ringer for Bath Arsenal at the time and came on as a sub for Bristol Rovers first team a few months later. I played against him a few times. When we were under 9's he scored eight against my team.

"I played in defence for Saltford Stars and it was so traumatic I still remember some of the goals he scored 23 years later." - Reddit user chazmuzz.

Kyle Walker (former Sheffield United and Tottenham defender. Now plays for Manchester City)

"I played against Kyle Walker. He was the typical over talented kid at The Blades academy. He was absolutely rapid and strong for his age, despite never looking that strong.

"He was a cut above a lot of the players but wasn't the best on the field. However I remember that I hated him because as a CB he used to deliver fucking deadly balls as a winger and caused us mayhem. He also absolutely skinned me for a whole game when I was asked to play full back.

"Now, a lot of years on, I think his mentality was evident. He was always screaming at teammates and we used to think he was a nutter, but he obviously knew what he wanted and that's why he continued to improve and is now a multiple time Premier League champion and the rest aren't." Reddit user TMillo.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Falcao (former Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco striker. Now plays for Galatasaray)

"My cousin in Colombia was in the semi-finals of a youth tournament back in the day. His team went up against Falcao's team. They lost something like 7-0, with Falcao scoring all of the goals. My cousin said that he looked rather bored and didn't even try." - Reddit user camfa.

Simon Davies (former Everton, Tottenham and Fulham defender. Now retired)

"I played in my younger days against former Spurs midfielder Simon Davies, or as he was known then "Digger".

"Word had already spread fast through the West Gwent Under 11's of a player who was scoring for fun and when our two teams clashed "Digger" didn't disappoint. He scored a solo dribble straight from kick off going on to add another 22 goals before being substituted." - Reddit user u/Boobglow.

Michail Antonio (former Sheffield Wednesday and Nottingham Forest winger. Now plays for West Ham)

"I played under 18's football against Michail Antonio. To put it into context, I was fast enough to run for my school and borough and normally played RM but that time I had to play RB and Antonio played LM, he ran past me like I was running in glue; an absolute road runner." - Reddit user NAVYZETSU

Tom Huddlestone (former Tottenham and Hull City midfielder. Now plays for Derby)

"I played against Tom Huddlestone as he went to one of the schools near me. You could see he was a step above everyone else. I can confirm he smashed a 30 yard free kick past me off the underside of the bar in a match." - Reddit user b_nick.

Image: PA
Image: PA

David Meyler (former Hull City and Sunderland midfielder. Now a free agent)

"I come from the same area as David Meyler, the Irish footballer who played for Hull a few years ago. I played against him several times through school games, club games and even just park kick abouts.

"Meyler was notably good, but he played on a particularly good club team that had multiple guys who would have had trials and he didn't stand out too much from some of the other great players.

"We were all pretty surprised when he got into the Premier league. Happy for him though, nice guy." - Reddit user qhi.

Simone Zaza (former West Ham, Lazio and Juventus striker. Now plays for Torino)

"My cousin is Italian and once, while visiting him, he took me to play 6 a side with his friends.

"There was a bald guy there that said we should play 5 v 7 with me and my cousin in his team of 5. I was like...are you crazy, we'll have to be much better than them and run a lot more, but he said not to worry.

"The guy was scoring for fun, dribbling around everybody, doing tricks and we beat them by like 10 goals. The bald player was Simone Zaza." - Reddit user andrew_a7.

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Nathan Delfounso (former Aston Villa and Blackburn striker. Now plays for Blackpool)

"I went to school with Nathan Delfouneso (a name only known to Villa fans, Blackpool fans, and people who made silver squads in FIFA 12) and he was absolutely miles above everyone else, there was no doubt about it.

"He was in the Villa academy when I played against him, so he already had the experience of professional coaching...but as a kid it was like watching someone play with real life hacks." - Reddit user FriskyBiscuit

Ashley Barnes (former Plymouth and Brighton striker. Now plays for Burnley)

"Ashley Barnes was a few years below me at school but was playing full Sunday league at about 14 and running rings around everyone. I only played with/against him at school lunch breaks and he was clearly very good and bloody hard to tackle, but I wouldn't say he stood out above everyone else.

"Gobby back then too so don't think he's changed much." - Reddit user garages.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Angelino (former PSV Eindhoven defender. Now plays for Manchester City, on loan at RB Leipzig)

"I played against Angelino when we were like 7 or 8 years old. I can't remember shit but my parent always reminds me how superior he was. We were still kids but he was superior both phisically and skill wise, he scored like 7 goals and we went home after losing 11-1.

"You could see he was way better than anyone else although he was not really trying." - Reddit user imDNK.

Tom Heaton (former Manchester United and Burnley goalkeeper. Now plays for Aston Villa)

"I played with Tom Heaton for a few years growing up. Genuinely the nicest guy around. He was a decent keeper but our team was way better than the rest of the league so he didnt have much to do in goal! He was just as capable at playing outfield at the time.

"He went to Wrexham academy (where he played in goal and midfield), then a few years later got picked up by Manchester United." - Reddit user cottonwoolRL.

Freddy Adu (former DC United and Benfica striker. Now a free agent)

"I was playing at IMG Academy when Freddie Adu was there. He was the best player in a group of U-18s when he was 14. He single-handedly destroyed the best U-18 teams in the country and was the most skillful player I have ever seen in my life.

"I thought he was destined for greatness (as did the coaches). The rest is history." - Reddit user EricKingCantona.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Phil Foden (Manchester City midfielder)

"He was not allowed to play for the school team because he was too good and would just run around all the other school's and score when he wanted. And as for park football, he'd just make everyone else look stupid. Unreal talent, not suprised he is where he is." - Reddit user A_Wild_Ferrothorn.

Gabby Agbonlahor (former Aston Villa striker. Now retired)

"I played with Gabriel Agbonlahor as a kid. Truth be told, I thought his older brother Charisma was a better player. He had some technique and skill to go with his speed. Thing about Gabriel though, he was pretty good but his pace was exceptional, as in beating the fastest kids who were two or three years older than him in a race." - Reddit user HaroldTheReaver.

Alisson (former Internacional and Roma goalkeeper. Now plays for Liverpool)

"I played against Alisson a couple times at 7-a-side. As a GK it was just unfair, but he played outfield one time. It was just a weekend game so dude played like he was just having fun, not really taking it that seriously. I can't even remember how often he scored.

"Dude just did whatever we wanted. By far the best outfield we ever played against. And he's a GK." - Reddit user idontlikeflamingos.

Eric Dier (former Sporting CP midfielder. Now plays for Tottenham Hotspur)

"I played 5-a-side with Eric Dier over 10 years ago in Estoril, Portugal. He was in Sporting's youth team at the time.

"A friend of mine said he was inviting an English guy he knew who was playing in Sporting's youth team. I thought he probably wouldn't be anything special - "with the English clubs' quality, why would a British prospect who is worth anything at all be playing in Portugal?"

"I was wrong. I thought I defended decently until that sunny afternoon." - Reddit user j_trindade.

Image: PA
Image: PA

Did you play against or with anymore who became a professional footballer? Let us know your story in the comments.

Jack Kenmare

Jack Kenmare is a writer at SPORTbible. He's interviewed some of the biggest names in sport, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Pele, Carles Puyol and Tim Henman. He dabbles in all things sport but football is his biggest passion. He was once hit in the head by a wayward strike from Nicky Butt and lived to tell the tale.

 

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